Henry Hyde: Designer, Writer, Podcaster

Breaking Chains

Breaking Chains

Breaking Chains


It’s been a momentous few days, folks! On Sunday, I hit the milestone age of 55 (so technically I could start taking my pension, if I had a pension worth taking!) and I decided to take stock of where I am in life, and where I want to be.

As a result, I have made a pretty momentous decision.

I am currently working on the last issue of my magazine that I shall be doing both the editing and design/layout for. I have informed the publishers that as of next month, I shall only be doing the editing (though of course acting as a design advisor because the subject matter is so niche that any ‘normal’ designer is going to struggle to understand what the hell they’re looking at!). Given that it goes with the territory nowadays, I shall of course also continue to handle all the social media aspects of the job.

This means a substantial self-imposed cut in my monthly income, with no guaranteed earnings to replace it.

Am I mad?

Actually, no. It’s the monthly grind of late night deadlines that has been driving me mad. It’s knowing that every time I produce a magazine, I’m underpaid for my skills and time that has been driving me mad. It’s the thought that I have so many other personal projects to pursue, but have been prevented by the sheer fatigue of cranking out a magazine a month that has been driving me mad. It’s the sheer frustration of feeling that I’ve had no time to do the things that make me “me” that has been driving me mad.

Of course I still love the hobby that the magazine champions. Many of the writing projects I want to pursue are focused on it. But there’s other stuff I want to explore too, including fiction, and I just can’t fully explore and build up momentum on that with both hands chained to the wheel.

One of my creative heroes is Joanna Penn (The Creative Penn) who describes how, when she was trapped in a corporate job, she used to feel sick and burst into tears – until she took the first steps to build a future on her own terms. Well, that’s what I am trying to do now. I’m fed up with being tired, grumpy, miserable, depressed – and hearing those awful words, “Henry, you’re wasted”.

Well, yes, I bloody well have been, but not any longer.

I’m going to be writing, designing, project managing, illustrating, teaching – who knows? I’m opening myself to the universe and all creative possibilities are on the table. I shall wear a sandwich board saying “Available for Interesting Stuff”. With 25 years of professional creative experience and fire in my belly, I’m sure I’ll get by.

I’ve got to thank some friends (they know who they are) who have been sounding-boards over recent weeks and months and who know how torn up inside I’ve been in the lead-up to this decision. Their sage advice has resulted in me taking the _slightly_ less radical option!

But it’s still a big step, and of course the first person this impacts other than myself is my long-suffering other half, who of course has remained calm and supportive throughout, and who hasn’t mentioned the mortgage payments once: my dear Annie.

Right, here goes – I look forward to having you along for the journey.

8 thoughts on “Breaking Chains

    1. henryhyde Post author

      Thanks Ashley. I’m sure I won’t be short of work, whether the projects are mine or someone else’s.

  1. Robert (Bob) CorderyBob Cordery

    You’ve made a tough decision, but one that I don’t think that you’ll regret. If what you do for a living isn’t enjoyable any longer, there is no point continuing to do it. I know that being poor and happy isn’t a good as being rich and happy … but it’s a lot better than being rich and miserable.
    Good luck for the future,

    1. henryhyde Post author

      Thank you Bob, though I should point out that “rich” in the financial sense has never been an accurate adjective to apply to me! (Chose completely the wrong career path for that…)

  2. Bill Protz

    Good for you Henry!

    I remember clients who said they would do X, Y and Z when retired. When the time came, they could not do X, Y and Z because of poor health, insufficient time or money problems. Their dreams went unfulfilled. They waited too long.

    More happily an attorney Dorothy and I know decided to buy a Youth Camp in a beautiful, remote and heavily wooded area in my state, Wisconsin. it really is lovely here in Wisconsin. He and his wife happily ran it for some years. He gave up being an attorney to help children learn all kinds of summer camp things. He and she were fulfilled. A good thing because about ten years later he died of cancer – in his forties maybe. His timing was good.

    Inspired by you, today I wrote to an editor inquiring about entering the publishing arena. I can self-publish and self-market to a hobby market but it is too small. I’ve done this before. So instead of sitting on the fence, I got off of it to discover if some of my old blog stories and new ones can be presented to a different readership. Fortunately the editor understands the hobby – or I think he does.

    Sincere best wishes for you.

    Bill P.

  3. Melvyn Jenkins Welch

    I think the phrase is ” a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do”. There is no benefit to you or the world if you drive yourself to death doing something that makes you unhappy. I wish I had the guts to make a similarly brave choice. Good luck ( not that you’ll need it ), and I’m looking forward to the results of the new projects (another compendium?)

    1. henryhyde Post author

      Thanks Melvyn. It’s one of the few times I’ve felt lucky not to have the pressures of being a parent and having to support a family, which would no doubt have made it a much more risky decision. As for the projects, you’ll see!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.