Tuesday, January 4, 2011

sabbaticaljo = creativejo?

I've always liked to write.  But it's not something I actually sit down and do intentionally very often.  This blog was one foray into the written word.  Then I was checking out the Princeton Adult School catalog last weekend and ran across a fiction and memior writing class.  And I was intrigued.  So, I pulled the trigger.  For $100 or so, how can I go wrong?  And the timing is sweet.  It starts one week prior to my requested sabbatical start date of Feb 7.  It would run for a few weeks when I return to work after six weeks, but the class is at night once a week from 7-9 PM so I can definately swing that.  The problem is that I need a work in process.  Which I don't really have.  I've been thinking about taking this whole experience and writing it in a format other than a blog, but I'm not sure that really fits the memoir category.  Or if anyone would actually want to read it, for that matter.  This got me to wondering if anyone's written a book about taking a sabbatical from their career, particularly a relatively short one like me.  But I should have known that was a stupid question.  Of course someone has.  So, I downloaded Time Off for Good Behavior to my Kindle.

Admittedly, the book was a little fluffier than what I would envision writing about.  It was more a reflection back on how women changed their lives through time off.  But I want the plan.  The tactical.  The step by step.  That's what drives us Type A's anyway, right?  But I did take a few good pointers away:
  • Book some spa time/massages (I already have Ghouse to thank for this)
  • Maybe I should consider a trip towards the end of my sabbatical.  I've initially opted to stay grounded in NJ during my time off since I travel pretty exstensively for work and personal trips.  I sort of view this as a distraction from potential introspection time, but I'm not ruling it out completely.
  • Set aside time for nothing and resist the impulse to use time to catch up on chores and errands.  Going to have to put this one in huge letters throughout the house.
 A couple other interesting tidbits:
  • Two cardiologists in the 1950s studied heart attack patiens and noted several shared traits.  Impatience, a sense of time urgency, unrelenting urge for recognition and power, unusual preoccupation with work, unusually competitive and aggressive attitude.  So, turns out I may be fucked.
  • Apparently us Type A ladies have some common traits.  The "I can do anything" mantra, often first borns, and typically worked as teens.  Check, check, and check.  At least the author clearly knows her audience.
  • She looked at her sabbaitcal in quadrants: personal, family, community, and business.  I'm not sure I'd categorize my time off with the same four areas of focus, but I like the concept.
I will say that thinking about all this writing is getting my creative juices flowing.  I really want to get back into painting, and am dying to re-learn the piano.  I've put "buy a keyboard" on my preparatory to-do list for my six week recess.
This all got me to thinking about how much I miss having a creative outlet.  I work for an audit and accounting firm, which is about as un-creative as you can get.  I've worked myself into a niche of training and professional development, which does afford more creativity in my firm than most other roles.  But I've always had creative inclinations, and I come from a family of creatives.  Musicians, artists, general free thinkers.  I just haven't expressed my inclinations very often.  So, I'm starting to form a bit of a potential goal for my sabbatical: Express some creativity.  Tap into the other side of my brain for a change. 

What creative instincts might you be suppressing?  Hasta, sabbaticaljo

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