Why I Couldn’t Get Out Of Bed This Morning

why-i-didnt-get-out-of-bedI couldn’t get out of bed this morning.

Well, that’s not true. I could. I had the ability to. I just didn’t want to. I had no motivation. My mojo was low low.

It’s not the first time it’s happened, but I tend to reflect on these feelings more these days, and that leads me to find out what is behind the feeling.

I realised that my day was unappealing.

This is a familiar cycle for me. I start off with all sorts of wonderful energising ideas about the work I want to do – then I find that what I’m actually doing is admin. Boring boring admin.

So instead of running fun workshops, I’ve a list of people to contact to see if they’d like me to run some fun workshops.

Instead of making films, I’ve a list of people to contact who might like a film.

Instead of performing gigs, I’ve a list of addresses to gather for festivals so I can then print off promo sheets, and put them in envelopes, and write the envelopes and go to the post office.

Yay! My great creative life has transformed itself into phone calls, emails and going to the post office.

This isn’t what I want to do.

I want to write music, record music, make films, create cartoons, write a new show, write a talk, develop fun workshops.

This is what I WANT to do. But I find instead that I’m telling myself: yes you can do that, but only AFTER you’ve done this.

I know that I’m already half way through January and my diary is already getting clogged up, and “after I’ve done this” doesn’t seem to have a date on it, because once I’ve done this, it will result in more similar stuff to do.

Then I’ll have to do that. And before I know it, the year will have passed and my exciting energising ideas are just empty unfulfilled dreams that I’ll feel a failure about not having done.

So I have a bit of a strange thought in my mind. It might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever thought. Or it might be utter genius.

That thought is: stop selling, promoting and emailing.

Or, to be a bit practical, only spend 20% of my time doing that.

The rest – create relentlessly. And share relentlessly.

So 80% of the time that I’m currently spending on admin and emails and phone calls and meetings and promo kits and printers and envelopes and more emails – create instead.

Blog, write songs, record songs, draw cartoons, and share share share. Let my work be my promo.

The thing is, if I spend the next 3 months doing admin and selling to try to get permission to do what I want, I still might not get to do what I want.

But I can do what I want right now. With nobody’s permission but my own.

So I’m going to look again at my to do list and bin 80% of it.

I’m going to do what I love and truly care about, and have faith that the world will find some value in what I do and so call me to do it more.

So that’s my rule. 80% creation and passion. 20% on admin and finding people to share my work with.

It might mean I’ll go bust. But I’ll go bust being me, and creating, and enjoying myself.

Or I’ll succeed being me. One or the other.

I could still go bust doing the admin after all.

And I’ll measure my success by the way I get out of bed in the morning. Once I reach the point where I just can’t wait, then I’ll know I’ve got it right.


  1. sandra gibson - January 15, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

    The lament of every creative person I know. The problem is that creative people can rarely afford to employ someone who could do this admin. for them. And there are lots of people who do like admin and promotion. So they end up torn away from the exciting creativity. I think your decision to limit the admin. in favour of the stuff that has you leaping out of bed is a sound one. I have been doing a similar overhaul of my own activities and I find myself appalled at all the creative projects I have left incomplete because I must have a tidy house. Good leaping. I’m going to try to do a bit of that.

  2. Malcolm Hunter - January 15, 2014 @ 6:34 pm

    Well I for one are looking forward to you escaping from admin to play in Leicester on Friday.

  3. Robert Gallagher - January 16, 2014 @ 9:25 am

    Comment on Radio4 this morning that Creative People (actually Comics but I’d include all Creatives) verge on Madness. Normal People are presumably well Managed, or Admin-ed. I suspect we need the Admin-ed to be Mad about, to Break-out in Creation. Love your Songs.

  4. alunparry - January 16, 2014 @ 11:33 am

    Hi Sandra

    It’s a common problem for creatives. I think the only way to manage it is to put a lid on it. Focus on the really important stuff in the limited admin time we have. Then create like crazy. Our creations might just be our best promo tool anyhow.


  5. alunparry - January 16, 2014 @ 11:34 am

    Hi Malcolm

    Yes I’ll be there. I’m belatedly booking my train tickets in a bit. I did a great rehearsal yesterday. So I’m ready to go.

    I’m looking forward to seeing you.


  6. alunparry - January 16, 2014 @ 11:35 am

    Hi Robert

    Haha that explains a lot. I’m also training to be a psychotherapist, so that adds to the evidence! There’s no hope for me :-)

    I’m glad you love my songs Robert. Thanks for saying so :-)


  7. Kai Andersen - January 21, 2014 @ 5:37 pm

    Hi Alun,

    yes it’s something I’ve long realised. That musicians really just want to play music, not have to organise, promote or stage manage events themselves just so they can actually play their own music. You become an event organiser, as indeed Steve Roberts (16 Tambourines and numerous other bands) a talented local musician would also testify, he ran the excellent great acoustic afternoon at the Masque Theatre on Saturdays about ten years ago. But then if you don’t organise yourself then someone else takes control over the event with their agenda.

    I’m in politics -not really by choice- but more because I had no option because I spent the 1980s and 1990s trying merely to be a working photographer, video/film maker, designer and writer. Constantly trying to get that break, whether that be getting on the right (or in fact any) Polytechnic media production course, applying for the stepping stone breakthrough job, while trying to make a pound or two out of my work, barely ever getting more than ‘pocket’ money.

    Reality is I wasn’t (still not) from the right side of the tracks, yes the ‘class’ issue. So I have had to use my skills, talent and creativity within whatever campaign group or community group I’m involved with in the past three plus decades. It always means I have had to give my labour away for free, often even without the expenses (travel, lunch etc). There are plenty of us on the arts, music and creative scene giving our work away for free. Without an outlet for our creativity it just goes to waste and nobody gets to see, hear, read or appreciate our creative output.

  8. alunparry - January 21, 2014 @ 6:07 pm

    Hi Kai

    I remember Steve Roberts doing that. I went along to some but didn’t play. I wasn’t performing back then. I wanted to but thought everyone would think I was shit so didn’t. I got the courage up in the end.

    Steve’s a good bloke. His lead inspired me when I did finally get the courage up and I started doing my own music nights too.

    The great thing about the internet is that we can at least share our stuff and see if it strikes a chord.

    It’s cool that you use your creativity within your campaigns, and you’ve done a great job with the Peace & Ecology Festival year after year.


  9. Kai Andersen - February 11, 2014 @ 8:29 pm

    Well Alun,

    I decided as of Wednesday 5th of February that I wouldn’t be involved with the Peace & Ecology Festival from now on, it also coincides with my shrinking involvement with Merseyside CND too.

    I’m sad about it, but due to inter-personal friction within MCND I chose to withdraw from being the main organiser of the festival. It doesn’t mean I’m any less passionate about the Liverpool music scene or promoting local bands, musicians and poets along with peace issues and anti-nuclear issues. It’s just I can no longer tolerate the personal sniping and friction in 2014 that I had to put up with through the second half of 2013.

    Back in 2007 I encouraged a friend, Dave Cox of Huyton CND (who was less than pleased with the way the 2007 festival at St.John’s Gardens was organised) to work me for a better organised Peace & Ecology Festival in 2008. He ended up being extremely satisfied with how it went in the summer of 2008 with quite a satisfied smile. However he died in early January 2009 leaving me without a like minded partner who shared the same vision and motivation, he also had other ideas of working with local bands and musicians, combining it with peace, community and anti-nuclear campaigning.

    One of the drives for the 2008 P&E Festival was that I knew local bands, musicians and poets wouldn’t get a crumb out of the much hyped 2008 Capital of Culture that year. I hoped a free city centre festival would be welcomed, we didn’t get a penny of funding off the council, but there was certainly enough available but only to those whose faces fitted. However with funds from Huyton CND, national CND, a local branch of the SLP and various donations from local trade unions and others we went ahead and produced something worthwhile and a fitting tribute to Dave Cox of Huyton CND and especially with his background with the Levellers Folk Club at the Flying Picket in Liverpool.

    I know that you organised your first Working Class Music Festival here in Liverpool in 2008 as well, we both attended it and enjoyed it, must have taken a fair bit of time, energy and resources. I’m also aware that you also had to put up with a serious friction yourself over one group not paying what it had agreed to pay. It’s often how it goes – something great is created out of nothing, with a lot of personal energy, time and often very little resources for a greater good then negative attitudes arise until the original motivation and good will no longer exists to keep it going.

    I’ll look forward to seeing your presentation at Ignite this coming Thursday, as I’ve wanted to attend one of these events for a while.


  10. alunparry - February 13, 2014 @ 8:22 am

    Hi Kai

    Lovely to hear from you.

    I have lots of happy memories of the Peace and Ecology festival, and lots of happy memories of Dave Cox too.

    I’ll look forward to seeing you at Ignite tonight. It’s a fun event. Snappy 5 minute talks. It’s always interesting so I’m hoping my five minutes matches up to the high standard they always have.

    See you later. Hugs


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