Archived entries for Naomi - test

Naomi – conclusions and insights

My ! – what a lofty title for a humble blog entry, it’s a shock to me too as I did not expect that a week of blogging detailing my task management could be so revealing. I was expecting the week long experiment to reveal to me how I mismanage my task list, perhaps push me towards a more integrated system (rather than the paper diary and endless bits of A4 lists I have now) or that I’d discover exactly how much time I waste dragging my feet on facebook and showing off to the virtual wilderness.

I was wrong – yes all that I have mentioned above does need addressing without a doubt, however the two biggest things that have come out of the week for me are about my need for connectedness with other people, that’s it ok to ask for help. The other thing has arisen out of conversations I have had outside my blog entries and journal writing, that I need to put a monetary value on what I do and go out there and start earning some real money for my skills.

For me the reaches of the week go far beyond time management and action planning. It was serendipitous that I felt so awful when the chronicling of the week began as it allowed me to search what I was doing and why. I know that the initial purpose of the blog was to be an insight in to the ways we work as artists and that alone is fascinating (I cannot thank Jacob enough for setting this up) and I hope I have not hijacked the logs with some turgid self-analysis fascinating to only myself (yes I know have a bit…) so I will wrap this up quickly.

Yes it was good and far better than I ever expected (finding out that Samera did a lot of work from her bed was a comfort and inspiration, finding out that Jacob was doing a workout whilst I am still hugging up to the last bit of warmth from my hot water bottle was awe inspiring). I guess for me the next step would be to meet again in 6 months and ask the question What has changed, what has stayed the same? And for now I want to know what other people feel they gained from the week.

Love always to all of you
Naomi x

Naomi – Day 6 (written on day 7)

It’s Sunday morning and I am in bed on my lap top. I’m not sure if this is a good thing, it means there’s a fudged edge between work and play and perhaps my bed should be sacred and technology free, but it’s cold and I am quite enjoying this 21st Century version of a lie-in.

Yesterday met Richard Tyrone Jones (he of flaming red hair) for a photoshoot. We walked along the canal and then had a potter around Camden Passage. I am still a digital SLR novice. In my film SLR days I used an OM1 which I still have. I shot in Black and White, mostly HP5 and my interaction with the camera was about the relationship between shutter speed and aperture. In simple terms I often worked with a very shallow depth of field (ie, only a few things in sharp focus and, in my case, the background being a blur) and, in this way, I could concentrate on the framing of the picture and how I developed a relationship with my subject.

Since buying the Canon from Jacob it’s all changed. For a start I am shooting in colour and I have to adjust my vision to understand this, to know how this translates to a digital image. This is my biggest learning curve and one I am enjoying, although I have to admit my heart is still loyal to black and white images. I also have so much more choice which means I can change ISO speed from shot to shot. I know this is standard for anyone with a digital camera but for someone who learnt her craft on a Zenit it still feels like an incredible luxury. I am also learning how to see again, how to take the actual photographs as it has been a good ten years since I’ve done this.

But why mention all this – Samera said something about freelancers working in isolation but us often having similar concerns. I think the digital photography thing serves as a fitting metaphor of what I have learnt this week. When I first starting taking photographs I had to master the camera, and the darkroom. I spent many hours there perfecting my prints. The process was long and thoughtful. Today it’s much quicker and I can share the image within minutes of taking the shot. The camera offers me more choices and in many ways the whole process is more interactive and less isolating. I’m not saying it’s better (I will always love film photography, what it requires and what comes out of it), but it serves as a reminder for my very personal need for interaction.

Not much else to say about Saturday, the shoot was good albeit freezing. The meeting I was supposed to be having with Agnes and Kamaria about a poetry anthology did not happen as Kamaria got the wrong address and could not be reached on the phone. It gave me some catch up time with Agnes and we went back to hers to eat quiche and watch Star Trek Next Generation. I cycled home under an unappetising shower of cold rain. At home I hopped on my old lady of a mac and began looking for photos of Richard that had real bite, an edge which will make the viewer want to linger on the picture. I think I have one, taken in front of a shop selling monochrome prints of the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, taken on film of course.

Naomi – Day 5

My best and worst day so far, but at least I am beginning to get to the bottom of this low mood which is eating in to everything. Major achievements today are doing some washing and making firmer plans for next week (when I hope this current wave of depression will lift some) and beginning to read the simple and thorough ACE guide to applying for funding. At over 50 pages long it’s the length of a novella.

Morning pages, as ever and attend to emails. Realise that I have yet to get the full spec on a job I am interested in. Get an instant email response and utterly convinced I cannot do the more project management part of it (although feel perhaps the creative and community elements I may be able to handle and dare I say relish the interaction) – send email saying as much as want to know whether I should apply or not.

Wrong Move. Later at yoga with Malika and Suzanne (a weekly session I run with them – more of a guided practice with some teaching thrown in by me) we talk afterwards and I tell them this. They are stunned, both of them telling me NEVER tell a potential employer that you cannot do something! We are here to help you, don’t you know you can call US and talk to US, we can help with YOUR application !!! A loving conversation ensues where they both let me know that I really can ask for help if I need it. I realise it’s big this not asking for help thing, this feeling that I cannot really do anything thing and start crying. It’s the most real I feel all week.

This is the crux. I have more ideas than Manchester has rain but shudder at putting them in to long-term practice. As I wipe away my tears I know that it’s not simply what you do that makes a life but (and this may sound obvious) how you do it, and how you stop doing the things you don’t do (in my case not applying for things because my conviction I won’t get it).

I hang out all evening, refreshed and soggy, have an idea for a photography and writing workshop I want to pilot, go home and look forward to a photo-shoot tomorrow and an women’s poetry anthology meeting. Morning pages and therapy is the way through. It’s interesting that I have an upcoming residency in a community garden, there is something so resonant for me about things actually taking root.

I’m also thinking, at this late hour, that this blog has been important to me. It’s fascinating to hear about other people’s lives, what they do and how they manage them. For me it’s brought in to sharp focus my need for an underpinning of self-confidence, without it all those time management and planning skills will go to waste. In short if I don’t feel I am entitled to have a creative life no amount of action planning is going to get me there.

Day 4 – Naomi

Just back from a gig at the Whitechapel gallery where I saw the wonderful Helen Mort. I mention this because I realise that, probably like all of us, I want a parallel life to develop my craft in and seeing Helen write and perform with such grace was a real inspiration. It also served as reminder that writing with a light touch can sometimes pack the more powerful punch.

Back to today, still battling the sadness but am getting on with stuff. In fact as I write this I have returned from a chilly cycle back from the Whitechapel and I know that cycling really helps my productivity as well as my moods. In fact earlier today I had a workshop idea on my bicycle (many of my ideas come to me when I am in motion) and called my Word Migrants collaborator Dzifa Benson to tell her all her about it. The woman is up to her ears in deadlines but had the patience to listen to me prattle on and we’ll be talking about it at our next planning meeting.

This is no order at all. Anyway the day started with Morning Pages which I believe Denrele has covered elsewhere. Then some very vague cleaning and after than scrutinising my current finances, not very healthy but at least I am clear where they are.

I played around with the poem I put on the Moments of Chaos and Nostalgia blog yesterday, some editing which I think just tidies it up a bit and got rid of one overblown line. Then some publicity for that which today means get the link on some listings, facebook, myspace and a mailout. I was very chuffed as one of my favourite US poets, Dorianne Laux left a really lovely comment.

Next up was sending the call-out for my Pairs photography project to the Arts Admin list, nothing as yet. Also saw my landlady, who happens to be the Mayor of Islington, and she said that I can photograph her in full Mayoral get-up. My aim with this photography (asides from preparing for a Poet/Photographers collaboration next year) is have a portfolio which will enable me to take low cost, high quality portraits as a source of (extra) income.

Then more admin – I am in dialogue with a school friend who appeared on facebook and finding that naomiwoddis.com is free suggests that I can consolidate all my blogs and will help me do this. This is sounding like a proper grown up website. We are meeting up in January, so this is all pretty exciting.

What else – an email to a friend, poet Alison White as we are going to co-mentor and give each other creative, practical and career support. I know she is pushed for time so mailed her some practical exercises that will help her maintain a daily writing practice which won’t eat in to her already packed day too much. I found it particularly hard to think of the skills and support I could offer her beyond my enthusiastic suggestions.

The day seems to have disappeared through my fingers. Oh yes I also sent the typed up notes of the meeting I had with Kate at the Culpeper Community garden. I had to plough through my colourful notebook but it was helpful working out what I can offer and how it will all work.

Off to bed now and considering taking the Arts Council’s ‘How to apply for funding’ document with me but actually may just make my hot water bottle and read a few poems before curling up.

Day 3 – Naomi

A very late posting, and a short one too. Today started out without any colour in it all, all very monochrome and bleak. One of the things about living with intermittent Depression is that there’s no way to ignore it when it arrives. The good thing about being freelance are the hours – so if it means I have to take half the day off to get fixed by therapy, a long bath re-reading Roger Robinson’s Suckle, and a trip to get my bicycle fixed I will. Taking time out to write my journal whilst listening to Jamie Woon and having a bit of a cry helped too.

The work day started very late as you can imagine, hence my bed time at 2am. However I have managed to mail out and facebook about a new photography project called Pairs (please sign up if you’d like your portrait taken), finalise some more photo shoots, have a very productive meeting with Debbi about an all women cross-discipline (rather than just cross-arts) event for next year and write a new poem for the photography/poetry blog I share with Dan.

So not unlike yesterday – the day started with a thick overhanging cloud and by nightfall there was some change in the weather.

Naomi’s second day 24th November

In short this day has pretty much been a wash out. A Bad not ‘feeling up to anything, managed to get myself out of bed’ Day. My main achievements have been to do some washing up, attend to more emails, potter on facebook, cry (yes I know it’s not work related but it does eat in to my time) and finally when I thought all hope was lost had a meeting at my new residency which looks like starting in January (dependent on funding). As well as talking about lots of possible ideas for the residency (which are endless) we looked at the ACE application form which left me shuddering. I met some of the clients, one lovely man called Jusef who showed me around the garden telling me the Latin names for all the plants and gave me some Mexican Orange Blossom leaves to take home and sniff. Not quite the winning goal in extra time but feel less wretched than when my day began.

Naomi’s day – 23rd November

This is from my profile, so you don’t have to read it twice, or maybe you do !

“I have been writing poetry for as long as I can remember, although saying that I did have a break of about 15 years when I tried to forge a career elsewhere. Now I’m back, I attempt a daily writing practice, I’m a fanatical blogger and I earn my money teaching and doing marketing to fill in the financial gaps. I’m freelance and work at home so my day to day life varies a lot. A few years ago I had a shuddering mental breakdown which was one of the things that helped me decide to go back to writing. Things are much better now but I still have times when getting myself out in to the world can be a great challenge.”

Today rain has pretty much stopped play. I began by wading through an inbox (which at 7pm still needs tending to). I went to Esther Poyer’s to take some portraits (a sideline which I hope to expand in to an off shoot money making enterprise but at present am assembling my online portfolio at Flickr). The shoot went well. Left to go and meet Richard Tyrone Jones for the second photo shoot of the day only to discover massive puncture in my back bicycle wheel. Walked home in the rain. Grumpy. Tended to more emails. A writer friend came around for tea and we put the world to rights over shortbread biscuits. This evening it’s Photoshopping Esther’s photos and posting them on Flickr, and finishing and posting a poem for my Moments of Chaos and Nostalgia blog.

Phew – then bed.

Naomi x



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