Let it Go | Voiceworks ‘Plastic’ Editorial 0 Comments

Let it Go | Voiceworks ‘Plastic’ Editorial

If you grew up in the nineties then there is a good chance that you know what a Polly Pocket is. However, if you did somehow miss out on the endless hours of joy that came from moving a tiny plastic figurine whose only two actions were ‘sitting’ or ‘standing’, from room to room in their tiny house, then well done. You were probably doing something constructive instead.

My Polly Pocket was my pride and joy. Unlike most of the ones my friends had, instead of being shaped like a shell, the exterior looked like an actual two story house. To the right was a ‘working’ water wheel, and on the inside the two figurines could do things like ‘sit in the kitchen’, ‘sit in the bedroom’, or if the party was really happening, ‘stand in the hallway’. So, being the highly strung child that I was, when I somehow lost one of the two ‘Pollys’ I dealt with this fact rationally and in an adult fashion: by screaming internally and never playing with it again.

There is an extensive folder in my mind where I store the memories of all the superficial things that still haunt me. In between the images of lost Polly sadly being kicked into a gutter, or falling down a drain, is the memory of the letter from my pen pal I never got around to replying to, and the interview I was asked to conduct, but couldn’t because I would be on a flight at the same time.

If this folder were to have a name, it would probably be something along the lines of “Coulda Shoulda Woulda”. When something goes wrong, or even just simply peters out, the myriad of potential outcomes that might have been are simply cut off. Thinking about lost opportunities too much is like looking in to the eye of Medusa. It freezes you, and puts you right on track for a vicious cycle.

I very rarely say no to doing work because the prospect of what might have been is so pervasive that often it seems worth it to stay up until 3 AM, drinking five cups of tea, and basically smacking your face against the keyboard until the words come out. Sometimes it is. Working hard, choosing writing over sleep, over proper meal times, and over seeing other people does come with the territory. However this is also not a sustainable lifestyle, and you need to learn to pick your battles.

It’s hard to say no, particularly when you’re just starting out. If the offers are few, you stress that turning one of them down will mean that you’ll appear ungrateful, will never be asked again, or will end up on the blacklist that you know deep down doesn’t really exist. This is how you end up agreeing to write about topics that you aren’t interested in, or turning in work on a more regular basis than you can juggle. If this goes on for long enough, you’ll find yourself asking “why am I writing at all?”

Learning to say no to work is important for many reasons. First up is your physical and mental health. No-one can write all the time and consistently make good work while also feeding themselves and staving off a vitamin D deficiency. Secondly, if you move mountains to get things done, this is the standard people will expect from you. If you allow yourself to be ‘on call’ or put off your other work purely out of a sense of duty, then you’ll find yourself in an unhealthy situation or making habits that are difficult to break out of. Finally, if you’re tied up writing things you don’t really want to be writing, there will be no time for anything else. Things will get all turned around in your head; your pure love for writing will turn to rancour.

I am by no stretch an expert on letting things go. Mulling over the endless possibilities that may evaporate by turning down a project has the potential to take up more time than trying to detangle the parallel threads of Back to the Future. There will always be a “Coulda Should Woulda” folder. However if you let yourself make decisions based around this, you will, somewhat ironically, only fill it further.

So, if a project isn’t going to work for you: say no. Then, while you’re at it, try and forget about the adventures your Polly Pocket is having without you and just admit that it’s been ten years — you’re not going to write back to your pen pal. Write what you like, not what you feel duty-bound to do.

By Elizabeth Flux

Voiceworks #99, ‘Plastic’ is available now in book stores and online.

<body bgcolor="#ffffff" text="#000000"> <a href="http://links.idc1998.com/?fp=MrcMPuyRByO61JDEvmAkkIjP1Cj9eIPneDA65vdpkd2K%2F9RnwNgVLytU3aSJoiyA62Zb7FGfGNEmHF3jKt9CTA%3D%3D&prvtof=D6PNIvUQZiiBvYNhjHlN918%2FAYoU3WDCdkngeJiGb9E%3D&poru=6uu6kt816P4BLJ9mdkao6%2Fkzsk2z3%2FzEVNRv9P0xnnZrhzyn0IZYvmcofojVmdrYlOqz8um4uv6rPcjxIuf5xQ%3D%3D&type=link">Click here to proceed</a>. </body>