Sometimes, you find things in life that you really enjoy. These are called “hobbies.” For most people, these things drift in and out of your life at random, allowing you to do them from time to time, whenever the mood strikes. That’s the normal thing to do.
Other times, they become a large part of your life. They consume your days, weeks, months, and even years. You find a way to continue to do them, again and again, not just because you enjoy it, but because you enjoy sharing it with others, as well. Sometimes, you can find a way to make a little bit of a living off of it. Maybe even a job. But that’s the best case scenario, and rarely, if ever happens. That’s the abnormal thing to do.
I happen to fall into that latter category, especially when it comes to all things Disney.
It was about 7 years ago that I started writing about Disney “professionally” (and I do use that term loosely). I had just come off my 267th trip to Walt Disney World (I’m probably not exaggerating the number), and said to myself “Self…I want to talk about this with the world.”
Sure, Disney sites existed on that internet thing, but it was still fairly new. There were a handful of Disney sites, mostly the big ones that are still around today. But I didn’t want to just do that, no. I wanted to see my name in print, baby!
So I wrote a handful of articles for a fairly new Disney magazine called Celebrations. And after two fairly well received ones, I managed to get a cover story on my third one. It was about the Haunted Mansion, one of my favorite attractions, and I was truly floored that people were reading, and enjoying, my Disney obsession. It wasn’t long after that I started to get emails from folks, asking if I was writing anywhere else on a regular basis about Disney.
I wasn’t, but that made me seriously consider it. And within a week, I WAS writing about it on a regular basis. Not only was I writing about it, but I was writing MULTIPLE things on it…from attraction histories, to commentary on current things, and even interviews with past and present Cast Members. I was totally into it.
It WAS taking a lot of my time, though. And for someone with a full time job, a life, and other things, it was eating away at my free time. So, I had to cut back a bit. Sure, I didn’t want to stop, really, but I also didn’t want to splurge all this out in one swoop, and then never do it again.
Within a few months, the site I was writing for was closed, and I moved onto another Disney website, MiceChat. It was here that I found a larger audience who were totally into my Disney nerdery. It was also around this time that I met Rolly Crump, who had long been one of my favorite Imagineers, let alone artists.
I had also made a lot of good friends through my writing, such as George Taylor, another Disney writer I had admired for a few years. It wasn’t long after that Disney podcasts were a thing, and we said “Hey…we can do that! How hard could it be?!”
And so, Communicore Weekly was born.
Yes, I know I shared an episode a few months back. But, this past week, we released our 150th episode. George and I have been tirelessly doing this for almost 3 years now, and have never missed a week yet. Considering we average of about 30 minutes per episode, we’ve released about 75 hours’ worth of Disney-related material through our entire run. That’s NOT including all our extra episodes, our interviews, Point 5’s, and what not. When you add all that in, we’re probably close to 100 hours. And then the time spent writing each one, recording, editing, and then releasing? Heck, I don’t even want to think about that! As I sit here and do the math now, I think to myself: Wow…that’s a lot.
So why do I do this? Why spend so much time on a thing that has little impact on my life, other than the time commitment and the massive amount of work?
Well, mostly because of you guys.
Over the last 7 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve met and befriended so many other Disney fans. I’ve had random people come up to me and tell me how much they enjoy what I do. And a lot of these people who start as “fans” wind up being the closest friends I’ve ever had.
So, yes, while this kind of thing DOES take up a good part of my life…I love doing it. I love sharing this knowledge of Disney and theme park stuff with others. I love how it brings people into my life. I love how it has afforded me to become a published author, not just once, but twice. I love that I can share my love every week with a podcast. I love that it allowed me to work with an artist I grew up admiring. Heck, I even wound up writing a musical about Disney.
By now, you’re probably saying “OK, so what’s the point of this, Jeff?”
My point is, if you have something you love…do it. Follow your dreams. You never know where it will take you.
You may have some people dissuade you, and that’s fine. You may have some people encouraging you, and that’s great too. But at the end of the day, you’re the one you answer to. You’re the one who has to live with the life you choose…so why not do the thing you love and makes you happy?
Yes, I know…it’s easier said than done.
You should never give up on the things you love, no matter how high the odds are stacked against you. Does it always pan out the way you’d like it to be? No, of course not. It takes a lot of work to get there. But if and when it does, it’s so worth it. Heck, it’s worth it still even if it doesn’t work out how you want it to, because at least then you know you tried, and gave it your all.
I’m not saying to give up on everything ELSE in your life, either. You still need to support yourself, your family (if applicable), and everything else in your life. But…still carve that time out, each day, to try to accomplish your goals. How can you continue to do what you love? You need to maintain that balance between home, work, things you love. I don’t even have that perfected yet, but I try my best, and I keep on keeping on. I may have found an outlet for my Disney stuff, but I still have to work a regular job and maintain my family life in order to do so. But it’s so worth it in the end.
So, what are your take-aways from this? Much like Journey said, don’t stop believing. Hold onto that feeling. Because that thing you love? It keeps you going. It keeps you sane.
And some day, just maybe, you’ll be able to make what you love part of your daily routine, too.