Tag Archives: art

How to balance paid work and creative work

 

I have been working full time with three jobs for a while,  because I have one kid at school and one at University in another state, which I am paying for and we need to eat, and God knows, there ain’t enough money in publishing to make this happen.

This week I went to a discuss some work with the MOST gorgeous women, in the MOST fabulous office,  and they asked a lot about my writing and narrative skills and how they could utilise them for their successful business.  This felt weird because, in my other jobs, it’s not mentioned at all.   It was nice to talk about it but I felt embarrassed, as though I hadn’t quite been successful enough and now I’m sitting here asking for work, or is it just me who thinks this?Probably. 13 books, three publishers, two  TV shows and selling one to a large production house says otherwise, but the bank balance tells me the truth. It ain’t easy for a creative bitch in this town.

Right now I have an idea for a book that I am trying to prise out of my brain and am working on TV ideas with Eddie, my script partner. I have a course in scriptwriting to finish, and I have more freelance than I can keep up with, along with a huge and demanding consulting job. So, how to do I honour the creative work with the necessary?

Not easily, but it can be done.

  1. Turn off the television. When I wrote my two first books, I didn’t watch any television while writing them. If I wanted entertainment, then the books would provide it to me, as long as I kept writing.
  2. Decide what matters and then forget the rest or ask someone else to help. This includes deep cleaning, cooking complicated recipes, and ironing. No one is going to remember you for the excellent creaseless yokes of your shirts.
  3. Say no to things that will take you away from your creative projects unless of course you really want to go. If that’s the case then GO! It’s important to have balance, but the Year 10 Mother’s Coffee Morning? Nope.
  4. Keep a pen and notebook on you at all times. You can write or makes notes when standing in a line, or when waiting in the car, or when sitting in the doctor’s surgery. Tom Waits has been known to ring his own answering machine to record snippets of lyrics that pass by in his thoughts. The muse is everywhere if you are paying attention.
  5. Talk about your work with someone, so you remember you are a creative person. Find your creative partner who you can riff with about words, and art and music and inspiration. It’s important to fill up the well.
  6. Commit to your writing as much as you commit to your other work. It’s easy to focus on the paid work above the creative but goddammit, you aren’t being true to yourself or your talents
  7. Schedule your time. Every single hour. I use a bullet journal and get an enormous amount done during a day and use my time wisely. It also means I get a huge amount of paid work out as well as creative work.
  8. Accept that sometimes life and reality takes precedence over creativity. My sister is in hospital after major surgery, so any spare time this weekend will be spent with her and that’s okay because love wins.
  9. Embrace routines. I love routines, they make me relax into my day. Coffee, feed dogs, make bed, shower, clean up the kitchen, work, write at lunchtime, work, school pickup, work, make dinner, write. Repeat. It’s doable.
  10. Don’t take on more than you need. Don’t offer to do everything or be everything. You have to find your self-worth another way and really, it should come from your creative work!
  11. Get up earlier. Seriously. 5am wake up means two hours of writing or paid work. DO IT!

This blog post isn’t the complete answer and I know people’s lives are complicated. When I cared for my brother when he was sick. I didn’t do anything creative at all. I had nothing to be creative about and the routine kept me grounded. But you must force yourself back into finding time for your creativity. I implore you to find some time. I guarantee you can let some things go in your life. Boundaries around the creative time are necessary and might not make you popular but do you know what? Suck it up, people. You saying no doesn’t mean you don’t care for them, it just means you care about your creative work more.

I read a blog a while ago where a woman listed all the things she had done during the day and how she had no time to do anything for herself. When I read the list I wanted to punch myself in the face on behalf of her martyrdom and her excuses. Don’t make 40 cupcakes for the school fete. No one cares. Honestly! Don’t make three lasagnas for friends with health issues. Make two, one of the sickest one, and make sure the other one is for yourself. Don’t make an Angelina Ballerina costume from scratch. Buy it from the $2 shop.

Just stop making excuses and start making art.

As I say to my kids all the time. Nothing to it, but to do it!

Added bonus:

Inspo for the artist- This studio. 

Inspo for the writer – This bullet journal.

 

On The Art Of Mothering

In some ways I think I should never have been a mother. I am entirely too selfish in some ways, and too unreliable in others.

I believe in living a creative life so absolutely, that I encourage my children to explore their creativity and remind them daily that they are unique. They have gifts unlike any other and that they should try and be actors, writers, musicians, artists, poets, and dancers if they feel they should.

Even though a creative life is a tough road, and it pays beans, I still think it’s worth a shot and they should find a way to tell their story in an artistic form.

I am also the mother who swears. A lot. We had the “at home” language and “at school” language. Why? Because I was too fucking lazy to edit myself at home.

If my kid wants to wear black to their cousins confirmation when she was ten, then so be it, even though a relative told me she looked like she was a goth. Good, I thought. She’s a goth, and a heathen.

If you wanted to eat leftover fried rice for breakfast, then be it in your digestion system. I don’t really care, I’m writing anyway.

“If you take drugs, then tell me so I know what to tell the hospital, otherwise, don’t buy drugs from a bikie and remember we have ambulance cover, so get someone to call them if you’re frothing at the mouth. The hospitals can’t report, they just treat. Don’t take ice. I mean this one. Don’t. It’s a dirty bogan drug and it shrinks your brain.” I then show them pictures of MRI’s of brains after three weeks of ice use that the Good Doctor sent me and this scares them a little.  I say the other stuff about drugs  because do you think anything you say as a parent is really going to stop your kid from doing stuff? Did it stop you? No. Get real. Tell them how to be safe instead.

“Don’t worry about maths. Really. It’s not your thing. I’m not going to get all caught up in tutors and stressing about your grades over a subject you hate. And no, Mr Teacher, I really don’t care about maths either. He’s exceptional at English and History. Let’s play to our strengths, yes? I can’t be arsed arguing with you about this. I don’t care if he’s not good at maths.”

I didn’t work on my kids times tables, instead I worked on their emotional vocabulary. Twenty words for happy, twenty words for angry. Go. If you can do it, then you’re emotionally intelligent and probably agree with most of this drivel.

I was lazy when I didn’t attend any school concerts for five years, except her last one, because I couldn’t be arsed and she told me that I killed her vibe with her friends. I didn’t see her performance in a play in Year Nine because she had one line, and she told me it was boring as fuck and I might want to punch myself in the face with fire hydrant to stay awake.

I did go to the primary school talent night and laughed until I got asthma at the kid who rap danced, and then turned his back to the crowd, and he pulled his wedgie out in front of the crowd. That was worth going to.

I only went to one performance of any of her plays because I was too tight to pay for extra nights, and honestly I could not have sat through another night of  kids acting and singing. There’s only so much, you know?

I believe in my creativity so unsurpassedly that I put it ahead of them. “Make your own way there, be safe, home by six,” is my cry from my desk.

I don’t believe my life exists for them. When people’s children grow up, some parents struggle at the thought of being without a purpose. If your only purpose is to parent, then you’re a better man than I, Gunga Din.

I had children because my arms ached with the need for a baby. I then grew up with them. I was twenty-five when I had my first one, with no career and no idea. I made it up as I went along. She came out okay. The second one came before I was thirty. I grew up again with him.

And then I came into myself. Having children forced me to be present, capable, resourceful. It also reminded me to play. I played a lot with my kids. Creating involved games using our imaginations. It was as much fun for me as it was for them.

I’m lazy because I say to them,”Don’t be a dickhead,” and leave it at that.’ I can’t be arsed telling them why and when they’re dickheads. They know. Self-awareness lesson 101.

But then I think maybe this selfishness is what makes me a decent mother. My children are amazing. I’m pretty shocked at how great they turned out. Maybe they needed nurturing but not suffocating? Maybe seeing myself as an individual allowed them to be themselves from day dot.

Or…maybe they just lucked out and are who who they are regardless of their parents.

* The Lazy Arsed Guide to Selfish Mothering with Bonus Creative Activities, will be out later in the millennium, published by Sloth Books. Available for download, because those who want to read it are too lazy to go to an actual bookstore.