Where We Put Our Hours

For the past few days, I have started writing numerous blog posts. Based on that sentence, I think it’s safe to assume that none of them went anywhere, even though it would be nice to post something that doesn’t fall into the narrative of “I didn’t like what I wrote”.

I’ve reached the point where I want to blog differently. I love everything I’ve shared here for the past four and a half years, but something in me wants to write more researched content (like talking about why I’m not on social media, but with more facts alongside my personal experience) rather than smaller life update style posts (although I do like these too, please don’t get me wrong). But I also know that it’s difficult to put in all the time and energy that I’d like to because university requires me to write essays, mostly, and creative work, and it is hard to sit down and plan out a longer blog post when I have three essays about classic literature due.

That’s not an excuse, and I am a firm believer in writer’s block not being anything but something to blame when we want the creative process to be easier. But realistically, there is only so much time and energy that we have, and sometimes it isn’t possible to give as much attention to something as we would like.

So that’s where I am right now. I would love my blog, and newsletter, to be my full-time job. That would be an amazingly chaotic adventure. But presently I am studying the craft I love so much, and having the opportunity for education is invaluable. I love most of my units and I do enjoy studying, for the most part (though obviously there are aspects that are less than ideal).

But that was a choice I had to make. I decided to put three years, at least, into an arts degree, instead of focusing that time on a full-time job, or more independent writing projects. I’ve clearly still maintained blogging, and have been posting weekly for a while now, and I did start my newsletter a few months ago, so it’s not like I’ve put my “career” on hold for university. In fact, my degree should be beneficial and help me secure more writing opportunities in the future.

But for now, yes, sometimes it is tough having to write an essay instead of editing my own short stories. I was going to blog about this – and didn’t, due to the whole first sentence thing – but a few days ago I printed out my old novel, and I’ve decided that in October I will actually read through it and see if it’s worth editing and maybe one day pitching to an agent. Of course, the more likely scenario is that it will need a lot of rewriting, maybe only keeping a few characters and key ideas. But I haven’t read it for over a year, and I’m excited to look at it with fresh eyes. (October is my uni holidays, hence why I haven’t started reading it yet.)

I am trying to balance it all. And ultimately, I know that I have it pretty good. I tend to have more time than I need to complete everything I have to, and at the moment I haven’t been working due to Sydney’s lockdown. But time doesn’t translate well to energy levels, or creativity levels, or smart-brain-thinking levels. (I think even the term “smart-brain-thinking levels” shows that I’m clearly low on them this afternoon. I wrote an entire essay this morning and it shows by how mushy-brained I feel now.)

I look forward to university holidays, because my creativity flourishes in new ways when I don’t need to spend hours at a time on my laptop reading sources for uni essays, or writing those essays, or watching the lectures. But I also know that if I didn’t blog, or write for myself, within the uni term – even if what I write isn’t to the standard that I’d like – that wouldn’t be helpful either. Writing is something you need to practise, and cultivate, and even though I write weird short stories at 10pm that will never see the light of day, doesn’t mean I’m wasting my time. I believe that.

This mushy brain is ready for some dinner, so I’ll leave this here. But I hope you have a beautiful, sunny weekend.

Sarah xx

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