Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The "Can I Make a Living Doing What I Love?" Experiment (#12: The Mother of To-Do Lists)

by Pam Victor

[The "Can I Make a Living Doing What I Love?" Experiment is my one-year challenge to make a living through creative pursuits. Read all the updates here.]

One of the hardest parts about the Experiment for me right now is trying to get it all done. For the last few months, I've been continuously putting lots of poles in the water, so that I end up spending a lot of time trying to manage a lot of different poles, as it were. The teaching. The comedy show producing. The writing. Catch a couple fish now and then. (Yay!) Put more poles in the water. Check the poles.

Ok, hang on a sec. You get the poles are emails and phone calls and general outreach to potential teaching/writing/performing gigs, right?

Good. I thought you got it it, but I wanted to check, just in case you thought I was spending a lot of time fishing. To be clear, I am spending zero time fishing. None. Not one minute. In fact, I don't like fishing because of the whole killing fish thing. (No offense, fisherpersons.) I do like eating fish, however, which I realize creates a complex and hypocritical relationship that I have with fishing, but - again - we're not talking about fishing here.

We're talking about this:

That is one of my recent, weekly to-do lists. 

Not long ago, I realized that managing all those poles ... oh, fuck the stupid metaphor ... I mean, doing a lot of different jobs at once makes me anxious. The whole faux-multi-tasking pace stresses me out tremendously. ("Faux" on account of the fact that there is apparently no such thing as multi-tasking. There's just doing a lot of different things quickly and consecutively and, in my case, not always gracefully.) That's where this ugly to-do list comes in handy. It is absolutely required to write it all down. And I've found that due dates are essential as well. As you can see, various colors of highlighter figure into the system as well. Lately, I've been making sub-to-do lists (small, orange pieces of paper with the day's shorter list of things to do), which has been very helpful because it gives me a sense of completion at the end of the day. Plus it's fun to crumple up a little, orange piece of paper and throw it in the recycling pile. Two points!

I'm trying really hard not to get caught up in the stress, just to let it pass like a wave. Though after the last few weeks of being out almost every night, I also realized that working evenings are adding to the stress, which is problematic since all my improv teaching gigs, shows, and rehearsals are in the evening. So I have to figure out a way to get over that. As of yet, I haven't been able to get in any R 'n R during the day, on account of my generalized "Bonbons and Oprah" guilt of watching TV in the middle of the day. I'll figure it out ...

Oh, I should mention that I'm officially one-third of the way to my financial goal! Maybe it is possible to make a living doing what I love? The next trick is to do it without the acid eating away at my stomach lining.

If you dare say I should take up fishing, I'll fucking slap you. With a fish.

God, I love when people get slapped across the face with fish ... that just never gets old.

* * *

Pam Victor is the founding member of The Ha-Ha’s, and she produces The Happier Valley Comedy Show in western Massachusetts. Pam performs  "Geeking Out with: The TALK SHOW," a live version of the written Geeking Out with... interview series, at comedy festivals throughout the land. Pam writes mostly humorous, mostly true essays and reviews of books, movies, and tea on her blog, "My Nephew is a Poodle." Currently, Pam is finishing up work on "Improvisation at the Speed of Life: The TJ and Dave Book" with co-authors TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi. 

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