Today I spent time working on my other life. You know, the one that requires me to step away from the keyboard occasionally and attend meetings and whatnot.
I’m Branch Secretary for my local National Childbirth Trust branch. It’s a new organisation but not a new role. I was an Admin in my working life before my small baby came along. I have been secretary or admin or some variation on that title in the Volunteer Sector for nearly a decade. If there is one thing I can do it’s write Minutes for meetings.
However, I don’t actually find Admin all that interesting. It’s something that needs to be done, so I end up doing it. I’m good at it but my problem is that there is little room for creative flair. The most creative I used to get in my job was to figure out a nice way to say that someone made a complete prat of themselves.
On the other hand, it has given me skills that are vital when writing fiction or non-fiction. Not only can I discipline myself to sit down and type out stuff even when I would rather be watching paint dry but I have also learned politic ways to describe situations. The sensitivity required to not upset people while still telling the truth really does apply to writing fiction. My skills in portraying scary ideas in a sensitive way definitely improved as a result of my work.
I became Branch Secretary because I could use my skills to help others and I had more than enough experience to figure out how to dance the political dance that always come with groups. I also believe that people need to have an independent advice and the NCT provides that. I believe in what the NCT says, if not always how they go about things.
I think I need to have the outside interest. I love to write, I have to write even but I think I need to have something that uses my skills without being hugely demanding to balance it all out. Balance is important to everyone, especially writers. We need to keep our feet on the ground while living with our heads in the clouds. And volunteering does that for me.