I dropped Karen off at the airport this morning, bringing to a close our inaugural writing retreat. I say inaugural – although we didn’t discuss doing it again, I reckon we should! As I mentioned in my last post, we chatted each day about what we’d achieved and ruminated on the creative process in general, so if you’re interested in that sort of thing, head over to Hivemindedness and check out the mini-series podcast. Scroll back to episode 11, that’s when the retreat starts.
It reminded me how wonderful it is to be able to carve out time for creative purposes. As I mentioned in the podcast, I reckon actually physically being out of your everyday surroundings is ideal, but even if you can’t afford or manage that, deliberately setting aside time to work on particular projects (rather than just drifting in and out of them as I tend to do, when time allows) can be very fruitful. Mum’s in the farewell pic up there, not that she was writing on the retreat, but she cooked for us and looked after us while we worked, which was also very useful – having someone looking after those sorts of basic things (like making sure there’s enough food in the house and that you eat it) means you don’t allow yourself to get distracted away from the task by things like meal prep.
Also, sitting at the table in the Launceston LINC (library) with Karen reminded me how much I miss her company, both as a friend and creative partner. There is something special about being in the same space as other creatives, each working on your own projects, but encouraging each other to keep your butts in the chair and work. Those Newtown Berkelouw days when the full Hivemind used to meet for writing afternoons were really such a delightful thing. Perhaps the fact that that space no longer even exists is appropriate. That collaborative effort belonged to a particular time and place and we’ve all moved on in various ways.
My coming work week is quite full now, having had a week off. This is good, as it means I’ll keep busy! But I’m in a bad place as I now have about 13 cents to my name and my credit card is overdrawn. Eep (mum kindly loaned me some cash to squeak by). I did try and balance work so that I would have some income to cover last week and this week but of course, I’m at the mercy of clients’ accounting departments and they just pay when they pay. So. I just have to sit tight and know the money is coming and not completely freak out, as I am wont to do. (Don’t you love it when the bank sends you ‘low balance alert’ SMSes and it’s like “I KNOW SHUTUP”? Or when regular bills just keep coming? Ugh.)
Thank God for mum’s pension is all I can say (sorry mum!!!!! Thank you, Australian government!!!!).
I’m excited that I have scored a couple of days’ a week work locally. I won’t say too much about it yet as I haven’t had a chance to meet with HR and nut out all the details. But I am so grateful that this particular friend took my CV some months ago and it is now bearing fruit. I’m grateful that the work will cover the payment of my household and car bills, so that at least those everyday expenses will be covered and my other design work can go towards paying off my credit card and just…life.
Also Dave and Guan have long been encouraging me to finish setting up my Everyday Gratitude Course so that I might a) put something excellent out into the world that might help people, and b) that those people might give me a little money so that I have some sort of other small income stream happening. That’s another thing, like the writing, that I have to carve time out for that feels like a luxury, but that would actually yield useful dividends.
So I am aware, post-retreat, that I want to have solid writing time factored in to my week. As well as church volunteering commitments. As well as band. As well as Sound of Music rehearsals. As well as finding enough PAID work to do to keep the whole shebang running (I could fill my life with unpaid work, but that doesn’t help unless you have a trust fund or an old-fashioned patron). This means I have to get over my hatred of structure (diets! budgets! timetables! arg!!!) and recognise that a little structure can be helpful. There are enough hours in the day, I just have to use them wisely.