by Park Theatre
An article I read in a publication produced by the Federation of Entertainment Unions this week described the time of the freelancer as split three ways:
1. work for which you are paid
2. work for which you are not paid (including admin and finding more work)
3. personal life.
While that's a helpful way of looking at things, I'm not sure it's that simple. What about creative work for which you intend to be paid but for which there's no guarantee that you ever will? Even the most established playwrights can end up spending the bulk of their time on this, whether by choice or necessity. What about childcare: is that personal life, or unpaid work? (Anyone who's spent any time as a full-time parent will know what I mean.)
And what about all that time in between, when you're doing the mundane stuff but your subconscious is still working away on the creative jobs?
This last, for me, is the key. Lately there's been so much (very gratifying) interest in my work that I've packed my diary with meetings and spent any gaps in between sending and responding to emails and phonecalls. Luckily, I now have a fantastic agent to 'sell' my work and to look after the business side of things, but when it comes to forging creative partnerships there's no substitute for being there in person.
What do I tell others in similar situations, with diaries so brimming and family schedules so overwhelming that they 'don't have time to write'? Just write. Every day. Doesn't matter if it's just 20 minutes. Doesn't matter if it's utter crap. Just write, every day. Then, in between writing sessions, you'll find that something magical happens: your mind, your subconscious, starts whirring away, going off in unexpected directions, creating, all on its own. So your 20 minutes of graft mysteriously and often effortlessly expands to fill your days and nights.
That is, if you're not so busy talking about your existing work that you forget to carve out those 20 minutes to make more. Keep talking by all means, but stop waiting for that nonexistent 'free day' when you're going to sit down and write the next masterpiece. Just write. Today.
I'm off to take my own advice.