Thursday, 15 December 2011

Time for work.

As things wind down in preparation for Christmas, I have more time on my hands.  As a freelancer I am subject to the rhythms of the business world.  On one hand, it's helpful because I have time to do my own preparation for Christmas and holidays.  On the other hand, it's potentially a financial wilderness.

Working and living this way has its challenges.  I've really learnt that if my anxiety levels about work and money go up, the chances of work and money coming my way go down.  I think it's probably because if I'm anxious I'm less likely to be able to see opportunities and also I'm less capable of creative problem solving - something I'm usually good at.

One of my other personality traits that I need to be aware of is my ability to get stuff done is directly proportional to the amount of stuff I need to get done.  If I'm flat out busy I get everything done.  If I'm not, things linger until the very last minute and I struggle.  I still get everything done, but find the process is not as enjoyable.

These peaks and troughs were one of the reasons I started to write "divacultura", and made a commitment to write daily.  During the flat periods, without a clear focus, time would just slip by if I wasn't careful.  I was a very productive knitter and I read a lot of books, but I also recognised the potential to do nothing but watch my favourite shows on DVD.  I needed to recognise that I was blessed with something that I hadn't had enough of for all of my working life: time!  How dare I squander it!

As a creative person working in a corporate world, being able to focus on my creative life and practice was something I often sacrificed the moment the phone rang or an email flashed on the screen.  On reflection, it seems incomprehensible to me that I would not fight fiercely to claim that space for myself.  It was a matter of priorities.  And now I have them straight-er.

Tonight, I felt the compulsion to write, but also the lure of bed.  I am feeling mentally exhausted after a day working in an academic environment, co-teaching about simulated patients in health care and medical education.  My daily writing habit won!  Here I am honouring my commitment to my daily writing habit.

I knew when I set my parameters for this blog that they would be important: I was setting priorities in my life.  "divacultura" is a high priority each day for me; it must be written.  There have been days when I have not been able to honour this commitment because I've been interstate and not had the facilities.  The strength of the ingrained habit on these occasions has been very strong.  Where I have been unable to do the publishing, I've often hand written the post and typed it later, or turned up my thinking so that the words would flow when I was next at my computer.

This is a good thing that I have done.  Not every post has been a winner.  Sometimes that's not the point.  And in any artistic or creative pursuit, bad work is still work.  I heard writer Steve Hely (author of "How I became a Famous Novelist") talk about this at the Melbourne Writers Festival this year and it has really stuck in my mind.

Today's work has left me struck by the synergies I keep finding in all my different worlds of work.  Today I heard the concept of "practise, rehearsal, performance" presented.  As an artist, I'm incredibly familiar with this cycle and am aware that a tiny proportion of my time is spent in performance.  In the world of medicine, it's the opposite.  Most of their time is spent in high stakes performance and the opportunities for practise and rehearsal are limited!  I had never thought of it like that before.

What luxury I have being able to put the work in first.

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