My dear friend (and fellow chaser of the challenging performing/Mummy combination) Alex called me this morning, and asked me something which has since sent my cogs not just turning, but spiralling inwards on themselves in confusion not seen since I exposed the poor darlings to Inception:
“How do you keep your momentum going?”
I tried to answer, but realised afterwards that what I’d really been talking about was motivation, rather than momentum.
What she really meant (I think – or if not, this is where it’s sent me a-pondering, at any rate) was how do you:
a) keep the momentum of your career going, when…
b) trying to raise your family the way you want to, knowing that…
c) this child-rearing thang can sometimes send any momentum spiralling in a different direction?
Hmmm. Okay. Here goes.
1. Involving my family in the projects I undertake – including the kids.
This isn’t the case in every thing I do, and I’ve also read some fascinating interviews with mums who consciously do the exact opposite of this, keeping their kid/business worlds completely separate. However for me, I find that bringing my family directly into my creative life actually helps create the feeling that we’re a team. That we’re in this together. That the stuff I’m working on is actually important to all of us, rather than it being a performing versus family kinda thing.
My hope is – amongst other things- that when I do need to focus more attention on the projects from time to time, that my kiddlies, even if they don’t LIKE having Mummy’s attention diverted, can at least have some understanding and even ownership of it.
Specifically for me, this can mean enlisting the kids to help me out with making props, shooting silly videos together (some of which make it online, as you’ve seen), chatting about both my and their dreams and even inviting them along to shows. In fact, Miss 8, I’m proud to say, even took ALL of the promo pics for our first ever Gumball Theatre student show recently. Like this one:
She has been to a gazillion improv shows with me in Oz, Canada and the States, including having sat in on many notes sessions at Loose Moose Theatre, resulting in her having a very highly developed sense of what she does and doesn’t like onstage…and not being afraid to tell me about it. Ouch, it burns, oh how it burns.
2. Having a most excellent to-do list system.
I borrowed this system from elsewhere on this wonderful world wide web (you heard me: wwww), the source of which I’m afraid I cannot recall at this moment, but shall post later. Unless, in the words of Shrek, I can’t find you or I forget.
But bottom line, EVERYTHING I need to do goes on this one list. Everything. It’s ridiculously long, but the great part is that the moment I have any free time, I don’t have to waste any of it stuffing around wondering what to do. It’s all there. I’ve just gotta follow it. Some days I won’t get a single thing done on it. Others I’ll get one. Others I’ll crack through a page.
But it’s all just little chips away at the goal.
3. Hanging Up the Idea of a Big Break
I kinda came to the conclusion a few years ago that there’s no such thing as a ‘big break’ but rather, a series of smaller breaks that all serve to get the ball rolling…and rolling…and rolling…until one day. POW! Big mother of a snowball!
So in terms of keeping this momentum going, I think it’s just trusting that every little thing you do – even if it’s just thinking about the next step or two – is part of that.
And finally, whenever I start to wonder if it’s even worth all the effort…
4. I Remind Myself That Failure IS an Option
Ooh, how mysterious am I?!?!?!?!?!
*swishing cape* (Bet you think I’m just typing that for effect, don’t you?)
*Image courtesy of Dude LOL