I’m a writer. I’m also responsible for a huge amount of admin. Nothing novel there.

The successful creative life is often a series of negotations between maker time and manager time— the constant attempt to balance the space required to create work alongside the other work that underwrites and surrounds that creative space. The freedom to be creative is all too often hemmed in by the realities of everyday existence. Must keep roof overhead. Must eat. Must pay the cost of living. The definition of success as a freelance creative is, perhaps, finding a way to ensure some measure of sustainable creative freedom. Whether that means making peace with the “day job” and writing on borrowed (paid for?) time, or being clear on what you’re willing to sacrifice in order to get your real work done.

I love the story of the inception of Terrance Hayes’ ‘Gramme of &s’ poetic form, which I’ve read was inspired by the puzzle section of morning newspapers on Hayes’ commute to work. I’m also intrigued by the concept of temptation bundling, as detailed by the Freakonomics podcast When Willpower Isn’t Enough. With that in mind, suggestions for hooking an engagement with poetry into the admin schedule:

  • Every 10 emails sent, read a poem. Or, for every 5 tasks ticked off the to-do list, read a poem. Vice versa, depending on which way your procrastination is currently running.
  • For every two hours of admin, draft a new poem. Your mind needs to shift gear, anyway.
  • Before you start admin hours, read a poem. Let poetry be the gate your mind must pass through to get things done.
  • Cleared your task list for the day? Sounds like cause for celebration. Finish up by re-reading a favourite poem.

Of course, these are really notes to myself.

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