You may notice some changes going on with the website this week. I’ve added a new title – Man Versus Bear – and finally changed the subtitle away from the description of writer, gamer, and angry nerd that’s been sitting at the top of the page for a long stretch.
Partially this is a response to the way my life’s evolved over the last two years. The majority of the old subtitle is still true: I’m less angry than I used to be, but there’s still plenty of writing and gaming happening. I still rant about creative practice at the drop of a hat, read far less than I’d really like to be reading, and generally spend a lot of time watching bad films and wrestling.
On the other hand, I’ve also got a job unlike any other that I’ve ever had, and I frequently find my attention split by the demands of work, writing, and having fun. The things that used to consume me on a daily basis are now balanced against going to an office, managing some pretty major projects, and generally embracing a schedule that’s unlike any I’ve worked with before.
Busy is a State of Mind
My flatmate is fond of reminding me that I’m the worst part-time employee in existence. It usually happens right before I leave the house on a weekend, heading off to a workshop, conference, or reading that I’m attending as part of my role at Queensland Writers Centre.
For someone who works three days a week, I work an awful lot.
Partially this is a problem of terminology. Right now I’m a part-time writer, part-time manager for a project I’m enormously passionate about. Both jobs require difference skills, different types of focus, and have come with some pretty steep learning curves in the last twelves months.
Both jobs have the tendency to be all-consuming and I adore them both.
I’m not really busy anymore. Busy implies there is a period where things slow down, where you’re not as busy as you once were. This doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon, so I’m learning to accept that what I once thought of as busy is simply the new status quo for my creative and working life.
The Creative Brain Versus The Business Brain
Back in 2012 I wrote up some thoughts I had puzzling through the conventional wisdom that all blogs should have a niche, offering up my theory that my blog was best suited to being the equivalent of a share-house living room at 2 AM. The kind of place where eclectic conversations emerge, from the deep-and-meaningful to the patently absurd.
I still believe that, but these days I spend less time staying up to two in the morning and more time trying to puzzle out ways to balance the creative and business aspects of my life. I spend half my time reading stories and novels, the other half of my time researching ways to hack my productivity at work, manage interns, or puzzle out the best way to promote a national genre writing festival.
Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about the ways I’m handling this balance. Not just in terms of the day job versus writing terms, but in terms of tackling what it means to be living a life that’s essentially a hybrid of traditional work and creative freelancing. I’m busier now than I ever was back when I did contract work as a writer/lecturer, or the months I spent working for the QWC full-time.
Like most things that occupy my attention, this kind of conflict filters ist way into the kinds of things I blog about on a semi-regular basis. And I’ve always had a metaphor for the balance between the business brain and the creative brain when it comes to writing:
The More Things Change
There’s more than a handful of cosmetic changes going on with the site. My last two years of blogging have been among my most random and haphazard, constantly at the mercy of outside forces associated with work or writing. Not necessarily a bad thing, but as I started developing more focus to the social media aspects of my day-job, it’s started filtering through to my personal site.
My mission statement remains pretty simple: talk about more cool stuff; offer up some useful insight for writers, gamers, and geeks in general; figure out how to get this odd, hybrid work-life running so I kick ass at both, offering up any useful pointers I find along the way.
Figure out how to change the world so it doesn’t make me quite as crazy.
It’s a tough job, but I think I’m finally getting better at it.