Saturday, 15 October 2011

Input versus output

I recently increased my working hours to full time. Previously I was contracted to work three days a week, but was working full time hours (the curse of the part time worker) now I'm contracted to work full time and thus am working full time and then some.

Plus of course, being a mum, which is always full time.

The impact of this, inevitably, has been on my writing. From writing three or four hours a day crammed into every moment available, I've gone to writing.... nothing. My head is entirely occupied with weaving strategies, setting stuff up and writing proposals.

But fiction writing is important to me - isn't it? It's the thing I want to do - isn't it?

Well yes, it is.

But it's a question of capacity. Not of hours in the day. I can prop my eyelids up with matches if I need to. It's to do with creative capacity and mental energy. When I was spending more time in the home and working primarily on work I was familiar with, my creative output was underutilised. I had to put it somewhere.

Now I'm engaged with new work, which requires creativity, strong focus and lots of mental energy, my output is exhausted and all I can do is suck creativity in. It's a curious balance I've noticed in myself. If I'm working at a burn-out high level of productivity in the workplace, at home all I want to do is read fiction. Or paint. Or draw. Or bake. I can't write fiction anymore.

When workplace productivity is on a downward dip (mundane work, or work I know well), or when I'm at home being a mum, my head is simmering with words which need expression.

I don't think my writing is going to die. I haven't given up on it. It's composting. Pretty soon the pendulum will spring and my creative brain will burst out of hibernation and into blossom.

And hopefully, it will be better for having had the break.


Jayaly said...

I'm there too at the moment. Sometimes you have to prioritise, and the paying right now work has to win.

Meg McNulty said...

I know the feeling Rosie - but it's not gone, it's just lying dormant like a daffodil bulb!