The editor's actual desk.
May is Mothers’ Day. In May many countries celebrate the 8-hour day, a step towards work-life balance. May is shorter days and colder nights. May is permission: you may.
Remember that kids’ game, ‘Mother May I?’ We’d gather in the rotunda and ask ‘Mother May I?’, taking turns asking permission and taking steps (silly steps, giant steps, baby steps) to try to reach our ‘mother’. If we took steps without permission we were returned to the start. But with permission and effort (and a healthy amount of trickery), we’d will our way to a win. I forget how many lunchtimes we spent asking.
I’m struggling with these cold days; leaving the house becomes a chore. I’m more inclined to stay close to the heater. I become the leader of my own ‘Mother May I?’, making bargains with myself on the way to my goals. You may work from home today, you may move sideways toward the deadline, you may read one more chapter. You may stop when your inbox is empty, you may relax when you reach your word-count. Permission is meted out in small doses, and while it becomes a sort of tally of my guilt vs my work ethic, it’s also essential to getting on. Striking some balance - the closest a freelancer might ever get to an 8-hour day.
In the final week of May, the Writers Bloc blog will feature a discussion of the idea of ‘balance’ in the writing life. We’ll be looking at literary citizenship, ownership of life stories, and the importance of failure. I look forward to hearing from you, too, about what helps you feel balanced and sustainably creative.
This month is a busy one for literary events. Clunes took on its role as ‘book town’ with last weekend’s festival. The Sydney Writers’ Festival kicks off toward the end of the month. In Melbourne the Emerging Writers Festival starts. Yamba, Newstead, Bundaberg. There’s no shortage of opportunities to connect with fellow writers - give yourself permission. Go and meet some new people. Find your kin.
I’m excited to share a handful of news about happenings here at WB HQ. We’ve been busy -
Writers Bloc are super proud and excited to be presenting an event in partnership with the Emerging Writers’ Festival - on June 4th, our Writers’ Other Jobs column will be made flesh! We'll be announcing our fantastic guests shortly. Please do come along and say hi. We’d all love to see you!
I’m thrilled to be welcoming new team members Dan Machuca and Katie Found to the Writers Bloc family. Dan and Katie are collaborating on the face-to-face events that Writers Bloc runs, including Write Here and our EWF event. They both bring a wealth of experience and enthusiasm, and we’re all excited to have them on board. Katie is also stepping into the role of Social Media Manager, juggling all the platforms and all the conversations.
We’re also doing heaps of work behind the scenes to make Writers Bloc the most useful place it can be for you. To help us do this, we’re asking for your feedback - take five minutes for our survey (LINK) and we’ll be eternally grateful.
This is all! This is it! Happy May to you - I give you permission to sleep long and prosper, to leave the house and party with like-minded creative people, and to do whatever you feel you need to find your balance.
Sam van Zweden was Writers Bloc’s Online Editor from 2013 - 2015. A Melbourne-based writer and blogger, her work has appeared in The Big Issue, Voiceworks, Tincture Journal, Page seventeen, and others. She’s passionate about creative nonfiction and cross stitch. She tweets @samvanzweden.