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Friday, September 14, 2012

Of Voices and Vacuums

Week 2 of my sabbatical has been long and tough. It has also been a good learning experience in the end.

The little voice in my head that says "What? You mean you haven't got a finished project to show at the end of the day? What have you been doing with your time? Don't you feel guilty?" was pretty loud this week.

Like most people I know, my entire professional life has been about achieving outcomes with a known final deliverable and deadline. My days and weeks have been measured by hitting clearly defined milestones along the road to that deliverable. So to suddenly be on a not-so clearly marked road is a bit surprising and very disconcerting. I am really struggling with trying to change my ingrained 'have-to' thinking into 'want-to' thinking. It's going to take a while for me to easily allow myself the time for mucking about and accepting the non-linear nature of the creative process.

Wait, isn't that the entire point of this undertaking? Yes Gillian, it is.

The other challenge this week has not come as a surprise at all. My main concern heading into this was being lonely, and it turns out I was right. Not necessarily socially, but in general terms of working and interacting with other people. I've always enjoyed spending considerable amounts of time on my own - but that was probably because my life was spent around a lot of people, everyone requiring something from me! I knew I'd reached the limit of my solitary life when I started seriously envying Mark going off to work. I've spent enough time in this vacuum.

A writer on another sabbatical blog wrote about learning that she had to get out of the house by 10 AM everyday. I'm not sure I need to go that far, but I know that I do need to have more and regular plans in place. So, I've now got courses and workshops set up to start in October and in the meantime I've found a small group of women who meet once a week to work on their own projects. Essentially creative time with company. We'll see how that works out. Lunch with someone once a week is going to be a necessity as well as a joy. And regular forays out of the 'burbs and into the city and the country are going to be a must.

Not to say that the week has been a total write off. Stay tuned for a post on a 'Gothic take on shabby chic' scarf that has me actually making some small use of my fledgling crochet skills. But as I head into next week, I'll be working on turning down the volume of that nasty voice, letting some air into the vacuum and cutting myself some slack.