In Headfirst

Firstly, I want to mention the recent loss of Thomas Coyne last Sunday, a colleague of mine from the Queensland Greens. I didn’t have the honour to have met him personally, but from party meetings knew his work, his strength, and the energy he brought. Our whole family has been grievously wounded by this loss; of which we would not hope to recover from. There’s no replacing such a bright spark.

This tragic and sudden loss is a very sad reminder to care for our loved ones and hold them tight whenever we can. Rest in Power, Thomas.

I’m writing this update from the air – on my way to Melbourne for a few days. I haven’t had much of any kind of holiday since December ’19 / Jan ’20, also some time in Melbourne, with Dad. I may have mentioned that time previously; the attendance at the Boxing Day Test which we’d always planned to go to, pre-COVID, and before his passing. A lifetime ago.

… I’m probably about due for a holiday.

Let’s flash back to a bit over a month ago. I indicated that I was going to make an application to a Screen Qld initiative, which closed on the 12th of April, and that was going to be no small feat to get done.

I found myself becoming overwhelmed by the news and social media; the women’s March4Justice was about to happen (which I attended), highlighting sexual harassment and the poor treatment of women in our society; there was a new rush of transphobic rhetoric surrounding “super straight” trolls; among other issues, it seemed that social media was inundated with trash that I didn’t need affecting my mental health. It’s rare, if ever, that there won’t be a negative news but my point remains it seemed particularly rough at the time.

My solution was naturally to take some time off, to shut the tabs and close the apps for a while. My theory was that it would have a secondary benefit of removing a distraction from the work I needed to do, and help me focus, work on discipline, especially with a deadline to work towards.

Otherwise this year I’ve been working on my goals, both professional and personal. One of these goals has been to do more regular exercise, another to do more learning via podcasts etc.; and after my shunning of social media I combined these, sucked it up and started going on an early (~6am) walk most mornings. I usually struggle with carving out the time in my day to do exercise, so just getting it done early in the morning has been the key for me. I’ve been enjoying two podcasts as I go, being Scriptnotes and The Screenwriting Life – I highly recommend them!

The exercise has helped fuel creativity, the discipline with making the time to work, with the podcast material and teaching keeping my development of writing practice centred in my head. For the Screen Queensland initiative, I came up with a new short film concept and pushed it through a few revisions, and ended up submitting it, as an 11 page screenplay (plus some director’s materials). I am absolutely not expecting anything to come from it, as the funding isn’t particularly directed at individuals straight out of uni as I am without much work to prove myself. Either way I’m very proud of getting that new script done (my second short film written this year!) – it’s at a second-draft stage so I’ll be putting more effort into it at some point, hopefully getting it (both scripts, actually) to a production-ready state.

The side effect of all this has been that I’ve been in my own head a lot more lately – a good thing – greater clarity, lessened feelings of depression, more focus and self-understanding. The sense of being responsible for myself and my progress is empowering; especially not having industry employment or pathway towards such, it’s an onus on myself to get work done and improve myself.

I wasn’t really off social media/news very long after all – it’s so hard to stay off, and my petition being tabled in Parliament drew me back to make posts – but since that break I’ve been tending to only check platforms 0-2 times a day, which is quite a reduction to the amount of wasted time and energy previously. I need to continue to not just be happy using it less but actively ignore the desire (read: addictive elements of social media). The headspace is much better spent on… just about anything else. Funny that.

It’s been clear skies above my head lately but I’m not distracted by the horizon: it’s one task, one day, one page at a time for me.

Anyway, that’s about all for now. I’m awaiting the Attorney-General tabling a response to my parliamentary petition later in the week, and will likely update then. Take care – Esther.