I did an odd thing today: I started a part time job.
It’s not really part time, because it involves quite a lot of input, and consumes a sizeable chunk of my week. But I call it part time because they let me get off early so I can beat the school bus home. Plus, I get one day off in a week, which is pretty cool.
I feel like a bit of a sell-out, because I quit my job to start a business, and now I’ve ended up in another job, albeit for fewer hours and much lower pay. But I’ve learnt to see the pros, not just the cons.
For one thing, working part time takes me out of myself. I’ve always been an introvert, and I’m told that as a child, I’d hide in my room with books and headphones. My brothers would go for days without seeing me, yet we lived in the same four-bedroomed house. I mostly write from imagination, and I live my whole life inside my head. But sometimes this means my plots aren’t authentic, and my characters are alien and idealistic. Being forced to go out and meet real people brings more … life … into my writing, more grounding.
Plus, my new job is in a human art gallery. No, we don’t have orgies of body painting or anything like that, but every person that I deal with is an artist, a poet, some kind of creative. The firm I work for is a writers’ forum, a kind of offline aggregator, so my day job feeds my business. I get to build my network, and sometimes, in doing my job, I link with actual clients.
Mingling offline also gives me new ideas. I do an average of eight articles a week, and for one particular client, I write about a thousand words every day. Today I was wondering what to write when I saw three police officers get into a catfight in broad daylight; and only one of them was a cat. Those ten seconds have given me enough fodder for quite a while. And it’s good exercise too. Sometimes all you need to get your mental engines running is to try something a little different.
In my professional life, I handle lots of different things – poetry, screenplays, management, logistics, editing – and that means my mind is kept alert through practise and variety. Take a look around and see if there’s anything I can do for you; I’m always up for a little exercise…