Hello! It’s been a while since I did an actual blog post about what’s going on here, so on this gorgeous late autumn afternoon I decided to make a pot of tea, soak up the sunshine and do just that.
As we reach the halfway point of 2021 I’m faced with the reality that I have not achieved even half of what I had hoped to this year. In fact, more days than not lately I’m not really sure I’ve achieved anything, except to say I survived it.
I try to remind myself that’s enough. That I have four teenagers under my roof who all have their own things going on; that some — most — days supporting them requires every shred of my physical and emotional capabilities. That my primary job is still (always has been, always will be) raising them to be good people and functional adults in the world, and this season of full-time parenting will soon pass.
I try to remind myself that we are still in a pandemic and it’s okay to feel tired and less productive. That I was suffering total burnout at the start of this year and specifically took on less work to prioritise my health. That I am still in a time of healing; that it’s okay to just be and not have to do. Yet the Type A perfectionist in me rebels against all of this and I continue to struggle to not define my worth by what I do or don’t achieve each day, despite knowing better. It’s a slow learn but still, I persist.
Like many journalists and freelancers I lost the vast majority of my work with Covid, specifically the regular op-ed writing I was doing for Network Ten’s now-axed website, 10 Daily. Finding work at this time hasn’t been easy and I was starting to wonder if it was me (hello, imposter syndrome), but was comforted to listen to this fabulous podcast with Ginger Gorman on how the journalism and freelance industry is in crisis, with over 1000 journalists losing their jobs last year alone, and how difficult (almost impossible) it has become to get published in the industry at this time with many platforms forced to fold with funding/advertising/budget cuts. As it turns out it’s not just me, for whatever small relief that’s worth.
It’s been difficult to stay motivated and keep pitching articles amidst a sea of ongoing rejections but then I was under no illusion that it was an easy industry at the best of times. However, as hard as it is, freelancing is still the work I’m most qualified for, best suited to, and being self-employed allows me to be home with my family and work the hours that work best for me, so I’m still here.
I think too, I’ve found myself struggling to write lately because the industry has become harder and so I find myself trying too hard to write and overthinking everything and being paralysed by perfectionism and then feeling inadequate knowing how narrow the publishing window has become and feeling that nothing I write will ever be good enough. I know I need to just get over myself and write but this is always easier said than done for creative thinkers.
In the meantime I’ve been writing on a more personal front as time and energy allows. I rekindled my platform over at Elephant Journal who I regularly wrote for before I started writing for Network Ten. However, I found it was a different platform than when I left; one which no longer aligns with my personal integrity, so I made the decision to no longer continue writing for them.
Since then, and with some writer peeps recommending Medium, I’ve taken the plunge and joined numerous publications over there where I’ll be publishing personal essays and poems, such as these published last week:
I’d love you to follow me over there, you can find my Medium profile here.
On the poetry front, I have some interstate spoken word features booked for later in the year but I’m reluctant to get my hopes up with Covid lockdowns still proving to be a regular disruption to scheduled plans, so we’ll see how the year plays out. Slam heats for the 2021 Australian Poetry Slam competition have kicked off around the country — I’m still undecided if I’ll compete this year. I chose not to last year as I struggled with the idea of competing over Zoom (my god if I never use Zoom again it will be too soon) and had hoped this year would be back to its usual real-life format but things continue to remain uncertain, so I wait.
In other news, I’ve recently finished a poetry masterclass with Mark Tredinnick which I highly recommend — you can find out more about it here — and have just started a creative non-fiction online writing workshop with Sophie Cunningham over at Kill Your Darlings because apparently I always need to be doing something. But as Einstein said, “Once you stop learning you start dying.”
I hope to still be doing, and learning, for a long time to come.