When I first started The All Night Listening Post in 2015, I was working in a job that I didn't enjoy and I needed something to break the monotony. I needed a side project. I originally set out with the goal of improving my writing and making new connections with people who shared similar interests. Eighteen months later, I'm pretty sure I've done both. Having a side project has allowed me to travel across the country, engage with total strangers, meet new friends, and given me the opportunity to work with some of my favourite brands on exciting and engaging content.
Side projects are important because they allow you to slip the shackles of the day job and do what you really want to do. They give you totally creative control of your work and processes - you set the pace and direction of travel. For many people, side projects aren't about the money, they're about the love; the love of doing, the love of making, of collaborating and connecting. Side projects let you test the waters before making the leap into the unknown. Many never leap but some do.
For those of us who work full time, having something to do outside of work helps to keep the mental engine running. If you can find a side project you truly love you won't resent firing up the computer when you arrive home in the evening. You'll take pleasure in reaching out to people and promoting your project online. You'll build relationships and find help and advice in abundance from total strangers. You'll push yourself to do more and do better.
Side projects not only help to keep you sane while doing the day job; they make you do the day job better. You'll develop new and relevant skills and good employers will recognise and value this. The All Night Listening Post played a big part in me landing my current job when it came up at interview. Never underestimate the power of demonstrating commitment to your passion.
Working full time and running a blog can be overwhelming at times - I envy the guys who have made the leap into freelance but I enjoy also my day job and the security that comes with it. I'm lucky enough to work in a creative environment that allows me to develop and use a set of transferable skills that benefit my job and my side projects. This double life means I need to stay organised, agile and versatile. Time management and the ability to keep working on the move is key; I need gear that's built to last and up to the job come rain or shine. Whether it's shooting a campaign out in the rainy wild or travelling down to London for meetings, the kit is as important at the project.
This Otto jacket by Parka London is a versatile 3-in-1 parka cut from water-resistant carbon-coated cotton. The outer layer can be worn alone on milder days and, when the temperature drops the internal hooded jacket offers more heavy-duty insulation. It's versatility makes it the perfect outerwear piece for moving across the city from meeting to meeting, especially in spring's unpredictable climate. The jacket also features deep pockets that can take notebooks and other essentials if you're planning on travelling light. Anything with military styling cues in forest green is always an instant hit with me so I'm sure this piece will be a companion on most of my upcoming trips.
As my side project starts to gather pace in 2017, I'm interested to see where it will lead. Wherever The All Night Listening Post goes, I'm confident I've built the connections and kit to get me there. If you're working on a side project or have your own story to tell, I'd love to hear it in the comments.
Jacket by Parka London | Jeans by Hiut Denim | Boots by Red Wing | Sweatshirt by Levis | Oxford Shirt by Ben Sherman | Sunglasses by Ray Ban | Bag by Filson
PHOTOGRAPHS BY FERN MERRILLS
This post is in partnership with PARKA LONDON. Thank you for supporting The All Night Listening Post