I asked a writing friend this recently and she looked at me liked I’d finally lost it. Said friend was taking on projects like there was no tomorrow, racing against the clock to get them done and move on to the next. Rest? Day off? Hair cut? Who even has time for that stuff when you are juggling more balls than Bozo the clown, immersed in the pandemic of productivity that has become modern life.
Hands up who’s been there? (Mine’s waving in the air much to the confusion of fellow coffee drinkers in my local Café Nero) Let me explain. Over a year ago, I made a big change. I took on a new shiny ball aka a full-time job at a fabulous home brand, shifting from freelance to the world of employment. This was a particular ball I never saw myself juggling, yet alone loving- that’s the thing about creative balls. It’s thrilling to try new ones. You never know where joy might be hiding. As writers we can become very fixed on our ‘style’ of content though there are so many to explore. From the long ass novel, blogs to short story. Copywriting, marketing, branding- creative content has many paths you are free to wander. Though from a girl who has learned her lesson the hard way, wherever you wander – make sure you put some time and consideration into how you manage your balls.
Creativity, like every part of ourselves, needs taking care of. What that looks like is different for every writer, though one sure way to get creatively injured is trying to put out more than you’re taking in. Whether that manifests in stress, anxiety When I picked up a new ball, I was still trying to juggle all of my other ones without allowing myself to readjust. The result? Ending up having to drop them all, back in my childhood bed asking my Mum’s pendulum what to do with my life. I floated through the days resting, pondering and reengaging with all the ‘stuff’ I hadn’t had time to do that keeps my soul happy. Reading, eating ice cream while re-watching Gilmore Girls, catching up with friends. Long conversations, slow walks. Bit by bit I pieced myself back together till I was ready to pick my balls back up. This time I implemented some highly recommended ball management- doing the necessary reorganising to enjoy my work whilst staying nourished and full of the creative beans that I thrive on. That did mean letting some projects go with the peace of mind they would be right there waiting for me to pick them back up when I was ready.
That’s the thing about the creative journey. It is long, there is no race. We can all go at our own pace. It feels good to be here, blogging again. A homecoming of sorts. Though I’m glad I took my sweet time to get here. I’ve realised that when it comes to creativity, less really is more. It is best to do a few things well than try to do everything with half your heart. If you feel overwhelmed by how many balls you are juggling, give yourself permission to let some go. Whatever balls you choose to play with, what matters most is they bring you joy and keep you in the game. No rules, no expectations, just you doing what you love. May I leave you with three words that help me keep my feet on the ground when my head gets chaotic. Whatever your goals and dreams may be, “You have time”.
Love Ashley x