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January 16, 2012

Hello, Macketeers.

Hope you’re all enjoying your breakfasts. The chef prepared them especially. It’s made from spambots. (Ew).

Okay, topic, topic…. Right, okay. Today’s topic is how to get a free toque, eh? What? No? Okay.

Today’s topic is why it’s a bad idea for Creatives to have absolutely no deadlines or schedules. There are entirely practical people out there nodding vigorously, but there are also Creatives shaking their heads vehemently, wondering what has brought on this base betrayal of the Bohemian Principles of freedom, beauty, truth and love.

Well, in the interests of full disclosure, I tend to err too often on the side of the Bohemian, and let’s face it, I’m neither the most successful nor the most accomplished Creative going, and there is a fundamental reason for that: I make my own schedule. It makes me happier to be able to do this, but over all, I am a lousy project manager, so my productivity, such as it is, suffers greatly.

What I’ve always craved was a project manager who understood what it meant to be a Creative, and didn’t mind a little friction now and then, when I bristle at being told what to do. The problem is, nobody who loves me wants to be the target of my occasionally childish resentment, and no one who would blow it off and crack the whip relentlessly understands me enough to know when to back off and let me be a Creative. There are two sides to the argument, and somewhere in the middle is the answer. I’d love to be more organized and professional, but it’s hard to maintain the right level of professionalism when so much of my energy is devoted to making things up from bits and bobs of notions in my head. The divide between those two mental disciplines is generally pretty wide, unless your creative muse has blessed you with ideas that are relatively mundane and depend largely on mundane skills and knowledge.

Understand, by ‘mundane’ I simply mean commonplace, daily happenstance, despite how remarkable the circumstances might be relative to other mundane things. I don’t actually class things like Criminal Minds with The Days of Our Lives, but they are, despite fictional conventions, based on the world as we know it, with no serious demands made on our suspension of disbelief. Most of what I write, draw and make music about tends to be a bit further afield than your average sitcom or television drama. So I usually need a little more run up time before my ideas have been ironed out and polished for public consumption and critical reception. Forced to produce on a strict schedule, my work would probably get more solid and direct, but the level of inventiveness would most likely be curtailed significantly.

As such, while I can occasionally maintain a pretty grueling schedule, it’s hard for me to keep the flow of creativity running smoothly. I need downtime periodically. Which brings me to the problem, briefly, of winters with no snow. I loathe them. No snow means everyone keeps buzzing about busily, refusing to slow down and pay attention, running folks down in the aisles and in the streets and generally blaming them for getting in our way.

Snow forces people to slow down and think for a bit, which brings everything to a slower tempo, and gives me time to just shut down and vegetate for a month or two, watching Bugs Bunny and the Beatles Anthology and generally not doing a whole lot, because no one expects me to be producing on a schedule when there’s so much snow on the ground that half of you are working from home as well.

Essentially, this is my season for recharging the batteries, but I’ve been having trouble getting the necessary time to do so. It’s been difficult to reset over the last few years, whether there was a lot of snow or not, but this virtual lack of snow is messing with my internal clock more than makes any sense.

It’s at times like these, when the weather and the world are working against my biological clock, that I wish I had a handler. I do have my agent, but I’m far from her only concern, and she has her own projects to work on, which leaves only so much time for getting me on track. There’s my Lightning calendar extension for Thunderbird (my email client of choice). There’s the mood chart I’ve been keeping a bit too sporadically, and there’s the food monitoring spreadsheet I’ve been keeping pretty regularly. There are a couple of blogs I maintain almost daily, plus a few other project blogs I update situationally. There is a growing pile of fiction that needs writing, which I at least poke at on a daily basis. And finally, there’s the occasional bit of advise from friends, loved ones and family, but nobody really knows what I’m up to most of the time, and that includes me.

So you see, the Bohemian Principles can be a wonderful thing, but even some of us Bohemians crave a little more organization from time to time.

Or more snow. Whichever comes first.

Time to take my meds and make the donuts. Have a great day. Without snow. You monsters.

Eddie.

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