I have been guerilla composing over the past weeks, sticking in my writing in short and intensive bursts as and when I can find the time. If I could bottle up that kind of energy and the work it produces – a carol here, a Kyrie there – I am sure I could churn out a decent volume of good work or, preferably, a small volume of very good work.

Of course, the magic ingredient is the looming deadline, something that I know forces other composers out of inaction as well, but I do genuinely wonder what I could come up with if I devoted proper amounts of time to my writing, rather than squeezing it into gaps in what appears to be an absurdly busy life.  Did I not move to the country to do less work and more writing, after all?

I seem to recall having some kind of balance only a thousand or so days ago, and yet everything since then has got a little out of hand, the product most likely of my inability to say “no” to work, even when I do not need to take it.  The freelance brain is the kind of mind that will tell you that you never know where the next meal is coming from, even if you are fortunate enough to have a larder and two chest freezers stuck in the garage (I have no larder, chest freezer or garage – where is the next meal coming from!?), and likewise the worry with work is that if you turn this down, that may never happen.

I really think that I should at least begin to feel secure in my work some time soon. After all, my main employers have all shown faith in me for twenty years or so, and many others have been around for more than decade, so I should be confident enough to know that whatever extras now come in around the edges may well need to provide more in terms of recompense for taking away what composing time I have.

Of all my employers, of all my interests, composition is the one that I have had the longest, the one that will remain into retirement, the one whose creations may just outlive me and be heard when I am longer here. Tellingly, it is the one I come back to first when brain and body are fresh and when the soul is good to go, and that has to mean something, has to be some kind of message that I should heed when deciding whether to accept the latest offer.

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