I was listening to Jonathan Fields talk to Vanessa Van Edwards on his The Good Life Project podcast the other day, and she said something that I am still thinking about 5 days later, something that has actually helped to bring me back to my blog:
People are either dreamers, builders or shippers.
Dreamers are the ideas people – their greatest joy in life is to generate new ideas and projects – but left on their own, things may never get past the initial landing page. Builders are the people who love the process – research, data, measuring, drafting and editing – but left to their own devices, their amazing product may never make it out into the world. Lastly, there are the shippers – the people who love to get something out there. Their product won’t be perfect, but it will be good enough. As you can see, a team made up of a balance of these qualities would be a winning collaboration.
What was I, I wondered as I headed down the highway on my morning commute. And then it was completely obvious: I’m a shipper. I love getting something out there. Ideas are great, but they come in their own time, not in mine. Researching, drafting, editing and re-writing is something I have to do, but I don’t love it. What do I love? Sitting down, tapping out a download from some magical heart and mind synergy and pressing publish. Sharing it on social media. Having conversations about the ideas I have written about. I love all that. Then I thought about the writing that is in my world at the moment – academic writing (all about research and planning); writing for work (heavy on process, reliant on approval); my book (needs heavy editing and redrafting) – and I realised that I am not doing any simple, joyful writing, just for the fun of it, which for me, is getting something down on the page and out in the world.
So here I am – because for me, a realisation leads inevitably to an action :). And my realisation was that I miss the writing I do here, that without it, I am not the writer I need to be. Here is where I have complete freedom to say what I want, how I want and when I want – then to just. press. publish.
So, lets catch up. I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing over the last 4 or 5 months, and you can tell me what you’ve been doing (you know I love to chat).
Firstly, I’m still studying. I studied Sociology and Politics over summer, which was fascinating and inspiring, and now I’m halfway through the first semester doing Digital and Social Media, and Writing for Work, which is totally useful and interesting. At the end of this semester I will be halfway through my degree. Doing a degree as a grown-ass adult with children, spouse and work as your accompaniments, is not for the faint-hearted. It is absorbing and fabulously challenging and enlightening, but it is also big ask. Immensely worthwhile but a serious commitment.
I also have a new job – just before Christmas, through a series of coincidences and conversations, I was interviewed for a marketing and media coordinator position for TAFE NSW, which for non-Australians, is the biggest technical and trade school in Australia – and got it. That in itself is exciting and a hugely steep and deep learning curve – but the added twist is that I have to drive 1 hour 40 minutes to get there. Yes. Why would I do such a thing? Because I see it as the price of admission, an opportunity to get the kind of experience I would not get otherwise. These kinds of jobs are rare in the regional area where I live, and they let me work three days a week, job sharing with another woman, who also has school aged children and lives in the same valley as I do, with a slightly shorter commute.
I would like to take a break in transmission to acknowledge some awesomeness:
I want to send a shout out to the Bear, who amidst his own mid-life emotional re-arrangements, has stepped up to Domestic God status, cooking, cleaning and kid wrangling like a legend. I have some serious backing from my family – my parents pick up my kids from school and take them to various after school activities; our honorary family member Harry sends them off to school two mornings a week – and I know how rare that kind of support is these days when family is far-flung.
Even with all of that wonderful support, for the last 4 months, it has felt very much like all work and no play. Interesting, yes, challenging, yes, terrifying, yes. Fun? Not so much. Everything I undertake is purposeful and for very good reasons. However, something changed last weekend. I went away with my writers group friends to a little writers festival, put on by a local writers group where I did things for the fun of it. We talked and laughed and dreamed – and by the time I left I felt juicier than I had for a long time. The two immediate things that came out of that weekend is that I am back here, writing for the joy of it, and…we started a choir.
At dinner over the weekend, I mentioned to my friends that I had always wanted to sing in a choir, but I was too scared to go by myself. For me, singing is a great joy, but also a great vulnerability – I was told as a child that I couldn’t sing – so the thought of singing in front of people fills me with fear. So, my friend Lisa, who sings and plays whatever instrument she can get her hands on, looked at me and said, Well, let’s make our own choir then. Who’s in? The result of that conversation is that 6 of us from the writers group had our first rehearsal session yesterday, and it was fun, and not humiliating at all. And, most importantly, it was for no other reason other than for the pure joy of it.
So, my friends, my message to you, is take joy into account. Yes, there are some seasons where lots of hard work is required, and that is perfectly appropriate – but allow your seasons to shift, and make time for fun wherever you can.
Are you a dreamer, a builder or a shipper?
What season have you been in? Is it time for a shift?