A Year of Working Differently

Can anyone tell me where 2018 has gone? Somehow, more than a year has passed since I relocated to Adelaide and returned to my consultancy practice.

2018 was to be ‘My Year of Being Forty and Freelance and Writing Lots of Stuff’ (I never did come up with a snappier title). Now, as that year of working differently comes to its end, I couldn’t be more content with its contents (see what I did there?).

I’ve loved my first year back at freelancing. I’ve enjoyed solving the jigsaw puzzle problems of my clients and the dizzying variety of juggling up to six different projects in any one week.

In spite of now being South Australian based, Writers SA and my old friends at Access2Arts were my only local clients in 2018. Instead, I found myself doing work for organisations and individuals in Alice Springs and Darwin, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Geelong.

Much of the year was underpinned by my coordination of the Meeting Place arts and disability forum in Alice Springs, on behalf of Incite Arts and Arts Access Australia. It was a singular joy to return full circle to Meeting Place, having launching the first one in Melbourne in 2012. And it was a great privilege to be able to showcase and spend time with an extraordinary group of disabled artists and thinkers.

Also in Alice Springs, I was thrilled to work as playwright and dramaturg for the Incite Arts production of ‘Unbroken Land’ – an extraordinary community collaboration that I still don’t have the words to describe.

Elsewhere, I wrote a slew of funding applications, edited PHDs and government arts funding guidelines, and was thrilled to be invited to curate ‘Poetry in the City of Literature’, an online initiative of the Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature.

I maintained my love affair with Australia’s National Writers Centre’s Network by working with three of its members – Writers Victoria, Writers SA and the NT Writers’ Centre – including spreading the good word of online author profiles at the Salisbury Writers’ Festival and judging the 2018 Territory Read prize.

Another of the year’s writerly highlights was, of course, my Asialink Arts Creative Exchange with the Hong Kong Arts Centre, which gave me six weeks of uninterrupted writing time and now has me working on a new essay to be published in Creative Writing Online in Asia in 2019.

 I am also rounding off the year with a few final funding apps (pleased to have maintained a 100% success rate for client funding applications in 2018) and my ongoing work on The Relationship is the Project, a new resource for community-engaged arts practice (more details of which will be announced soon).

In addition to all of the projects themselves, I have also (of course) fallen back in love with the flexible consultancy lifestyle, my rediscovered freelancevangelism justified by a recent article that claims “working remotely is better than going vegan.”

I adore my new 0-minute commute and my productive Radelaide lunch breaks at the [gym/markets/library], and have taken advantage of my looser schedule to progress some independent research and passion projects, such as looking into the inherent weaknesses of Australia’s non-profit Board structures (and possible alternatives). That same looser schedule has also seen me achieve a personal best reading tally of nearly 140 books this year (and counting).

My year of working differently has been an experiment that I’m keen to continue. Next year will kick off with a Writers SA Summer School workshop, a couple of NFP board strategy days and plans, and some new business writing courses for local clients. If you need help with your project or organisation, let me know…

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