Having a passion for something that is not (yet) your primary income means that you have to burn the candle at both ends a lot.
The only way to work a full time day job, be a single parent and develop yourself in your chosen creative field is to work nights. A lot of nights. Every night. And weekends. It’s not a matter of dedicating every spare moment, it’s creating spare moments that don’t otherwise exist.
You have to make time for what is important to you, because if you wait until you have enough time, you will never get anything done. So weather it’s studying, free-lancing, writing your book, painting your master piece or playing that guitar, it all comes down to you. It all comes down to never stopping.
That has been my modus operandi for a while now. Progress has been slow, but there is progress. Things are happening. And they are happening because I am making them happen, in those long, late hours.
Rod Judkins said, in his book, Change your Mind, “The creative never take a holiday”.
And he is right. When you have a project that inspires you, that burns you up, you are always thinking about it. You can’t stop. You constantly find yourself seeing “usable content” in everything around you. And you will find that you have an extra reserve of energy for working into the night on something that calls to your sense of purpose.
The problem is getting up in the morning to go to work, and trying to carry the same energy and enthusiasm with you through the day that has been come to be expected of you. I find the more late nights I work the harder it is to be subservient. Conforming to the “lowest rung” status in the corporate world is harder when there is so much more to who you are than just who they allow you to be.
The bottom line is, weather you mean to or not, your internal auto-pilot starts to prioritize your energy reserves and allot them accordingly. You don’t deal well with crap, in other words, and you cease to mince your words.
Now this may lead some of you to say “Bravo”! We are constantly hearing about how important it is to express ourselves and all that, and it’s true to some extent. But to me there is another important thing: Class.
It’s important to me that I conduct myself in an honourable, well mannered and kind natured fashion. Not because I am a walk over, quite the opposite, being a bitch is easy!
No I maintain a certain level of civility, even when I am in a disagreement, because I can. Because it’s part of whom I am. To be considerate, conscientious and tactful are part of how I was raised. Having a quick wit and dry humour, notwithstanding. Although the latter are a bonus, the prior three are non-negotiable.
But I realized that I can’t maintain it all, all the time. I can’t work all hours, exercise, study and still be the kind of person and mother I want to be on four hours sleep a night, seven days a week.
So today I did a wonderful thing.
It’s Sunday. It’s raining. And instead of sending the kids to church with my mum by 9:00 so that I can get in a run, shower and an hours work, I decided to SLEEP IN!
I woke in a daze at about 9:00 am with Felix sitting in my bed watching a movie on my PC (Yes my four year old son can totally turn on the PC and find his movie folder on his own) and demanding cocoa.
I got up, made cocoa for the kids and my coffee, and then, wait for it, I got BACK INTO BED!
I dazed to the sound of “How to Train Your Dragon” for a while, and then, Faith climbed into bed with me too, and we watched a movie! In the daytime! I think we eventually all got out of bed at about noon. I don’t even feel guilty.
I made us a great big lunch and then we all went and hung out at my Mom’s place for the evening, still in our pajamas. We didn’t change until it was time to bath to get into clean pajamas.
As sad as it sounds, it was the best day I have had in ages. To decide that I am just going to chill with my kids, no demands, not even getting dressed, just hanging and watching movies and eating too much.
I think it may well have been one of the healthiest things I have done for myself in a while.
This evening I am ready to sit and work for a few hours. I don’t feel like I have to force my eyes open. I actually want to, hey, I’m even finding the time to write to all of you!