All posts by nicktingley

Crime Writer in the first instance. Film maker, theatre and film director and musical director in the second instance. Love crime novels, great stories, super cinema and piano tinkering. Blogging about all things creative. Reviews, advice and random thoughts.

Midweek Tip: Finding the Time around Your Job

It’s an age old excuse. And let’s face it, we’ve all used it. 

I would direct this short film but…

I would write this story but…

I would learn to play the piano but…

I haven’t got the time. 

And it’s true. We never have time. Most of us have a day job and, for a large number of us, it isn’t a particularly exciting one at that.

Maybe you hate the people you work for. After all, management sucks! You always get given that annoying bit of paperwork which you know you will slave away for hours to complete, only to have someone glance at it for two seconds before banishing it to the Filing Cabinet of Woe!

Maybe you hate the people you work with. You turn up everyday, do the best you job you can do, but there is always some self-centred idiot who sits in the corner criticising everyone else whilst doing nothing to help. 

Maybe you hate your job….

Whatever it is about your job that brings you down, the result is always the same. You get home after the long hard slog, crash on the sofa and contemplate doing some writing or whatever for the tiniest of seconds before turning on the TV. And thus ends your day. 

And why do we do this?

Because whether you’re writing your script, or directing your film or painting your picture or whatever it is you want to do, we all consider it to be our “true” work. It is the work that we would love to be paid to do, our career goal in life… but work nonetheless. And after a hard battle at our “day job” the last thing our brain can possibly handle is doing another bit of work, even if it is for the job we actually enjoy doing. 

So how do we get around this?

Fairly simply when you think about it. 

1. A Question of Definition!

Work gets us all down, it’s a fact of life. So don’t consider your creativity to be your work. You may want to do it as a career one day, but ignore that for the moment. As far as you should be concerned, what you do to get paid is your work and the work you do when you get home is your life! It’s amazing how separating these two will completely change your outlook. You’re no longer coming home to work, you’re coming home to play…

Take me for example.

Right now, there are builders beneath my flat trying their level best to put a hammer through my floor! If I was at work, I’d be cursing all over the place by now, and would probably have given in hours ago. But writing is what I want to do, and nobody is going to stop be from doing it…

Nobody!

2. A Question of Time

Time, as they say is fleeting.

Wrong!

Time is not fleeting, you’re just not using it right.

Time is a mental construct designed entirely so the people at the top can make sure we turn up to work on time. Period. Seriously, try to find another reason for time! I bet you whatever reason you come up with will eventually lead back to work!

So, at the moment time is the master of you. So change the rules. Take control of your time and use it wisely. If you’re finding that you get up at 7 every morning for work but don’t have enough time to be creative, get up at 6 and do an hour before you start your daily routine!

“But I’m so tired in the morning,” you say. “If I try to be creative when not awake, I’ll just produce drivel!”

True, but think of it this way. 

If you wake up an hour earlier, it not only means you have a set time everyday when you must be creative, but it also means that you start using your evenings to plan your creativity for the following day to avoid the inevitable early morning, “I have no idea what’s going on” syndrome.

And it has one added bonus.

No matter how terrible your day is, it will never affect your writing because that is the first thing you do everyday!

Neat, huh?

Anyway, the point is, if you’re using “I haven’t got time” as an excuse for not being creative, it’s probably because you don’t want it enough. Time was created to keep you under control, to make sure that you’re doing what other people want you to do instead of what you need to do. If you’re using time as an excuse but are still loyally going to work everyday, then you are playing right into their hands…

That being said, we all need a day job, so don’t quit on my say so…

Anyway, give it a try. Let me know how you get on…

Time for work!

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The Creative Jack of all Trades

The phrase “jack of all trades” has always confused me. For some people, it is a derogatory remark  that a person is no good at anything in particular whereas for others it is more like a badge of honour. Whichever way you look at it though, it tends to imply that you are spreading your efforts over a variety of interests rather than getting brilliant at just one.

So for someone who wants a career as a writer or a film director or a contributor to a magazine, being a jack of all trades would (at first glance) seem like the worse thing to be. With everyone in the world trying to write their story or direct their movie and competing with each other, the last thing you want to do is split your brilliance between several different career paths, right?

Wrong!

I tend to take the saying literally. A jack of all trades literally means a person who does everything. It doesn’t say whether the person is good or bad at what he does, merely that they try. When dealing with a creative career, splitting your focus between different paths is possibly the most useful thing you do.

I style myself as being a creative jack of all trades but, in actual fact, anyone who wants a career in a creative profession needs to have a working understanding of all the other creative industries to succeed in life. So I suppose calling myself a creative jack of all trades is really just a more complicated way of saying, “I’m an artist.” In fact, if you look hard enough at your own life, I think you will find that everyone has the potential to be a jack of all trades…

“That’s a load of rubbish!” I hear some of you cry. “You’re just one of the lucky ones who can do lots of different things…”

Well, yes I am rather lucky. I have my fingers in a lot of different pies, whether it be film making, article writing or story telling and over the course of this blog I will be recounting stories from my life, giving useful hints and tips and sharing my successes with you. But the point I’m making isn’t, look at what I can do…

It’s look at what you can do!

Anyone reading this blog has the potential to be a jack of trades. You may not have the interest or flair to be a creative jack of all trades but I can guarantee that all of you have skills that lie dormant, just waiting to be unleashed on the world.