Madeleine Dore is a freelance writer and the creator of Extraordinary Routines, a project featuring interviews, life-experiments, articles and the new podcast Routines & Ruts exploring daily rhythms and the inevitable stumbles in our creative lives. She founded the international event series Side Project Sessions to help people find time, accountability and quiet for their creative work. Madeleine is running two workshops during Maker Month at YPRL to help people get unstuck and begin their side project. In the lead up to her events, Madeleine answered some questions about her work.
How do you describe your creative practice?
I’m a freelance writer, interviewer and serial side project starter! As well as working for editorial and selected clients, I run the passion project Extraordinary Routines, which delves in the daily rhythms and inevitable stumbles of creative life through interviews, articles, life-experiments and now a new podcast, Routines & Ruts. Knowing first-hand the pressures and challenges that came along with finding the time, motivation and confidence to get something started or keep up momentum, I started another labour of love – the regular event series Side Project Sessions to help people make space for their own creative work.
How/when/why did you get into this area of work?
After high school I went straight into a Bachelor of Professional Communication at RMIT before switching to study entrepreneurship at Swinburne. The degree took me abroad to Copenhagen in 2013 where I completed my studies and dabbled in arts and creative management.
While I was studying overseas I took up some internships that brought me back to journalism but also exposed me to the inner workings of a creative agency. For a while I would berate myself for this – I felt like my education was full of gaps from changing back and forth, but when I took up a role interviewing creative entrepreneurs it all fell into place. No experience is ever wasted, it seems!
When I returned to Melbourne I dipped my toes in a Masters of Creative Writing, Editing and Publishing, but gaining full-time employment as the Deputy Editor at ArtsHub in 2014 took over.
What was really instrumental in landing that dream job at ArtsHub was my side project Extraordinary Routines. Following my own curiosity allowed me to build a portfolio of my work, which eventually attracted the paid work I wanted. If you can’t find the job you want, create it – even if it’s just little by little on the side.
I kept this side project ticking along as I worked at ArtsHub, and the combination really embedded me in the creative industry in terms of meeting people, understanding the creative process, and carving out new opportunities.
In 2016 I went freelance, and now work for a mix of editorial and corporate clients as a writer.
Do you have a studio or work space? What is it like?
I work from a delightful co-working studio called T.O.M.S Place in Brunswick, where I also host the monthly Side Project Sessions event!
What influences, inspires or energises your practice?
The conversations I continue to have with creatives I admire and friends about their own experiences navigating their careers and practices – there is so much to learn from people, in both the high and low periods of daily life.
What does a typical day involve for you?
Despite my best efforts, experiments, and having conducted hundreds of interviews with incredible people on the topic, my own relationship to sticking to a daily routine feels akin to building a Jenga tower only to see it tumble over!
Sometimes I wake early, sometimes I sleep in, sometimes I maintain a consistent reading habit before bed, sometimes I scroll my phone till after midnight! I’m starting to think I might even be a little routine-resistant! My favourite days are the ones that unfold in unexpected ways, which perhaps makes me sound a lot more spontaneous than I am, but I do think there is so much to respond to in real time – your own energy, mood, desire, people, the weather – that a routine can sometimes interrupt or block.
Over time, I’ve noticed I’m not alone in my shambolic schedule. In fact, often when I invite people to be interviewed for Extraordinary Routines, they will agree with the caveat that they don’t have a daily routine!
For me, it’s these non-routines that are most interesting and maybe a more accurate depiction of how our days unfold. We all shift and change as our lives and work requires, and I’ve noticed it’s more sustainable to have seasons rather than set routines.
How do you define success? How do you celebrate your successes?
Success to me is movement – sometimes forward, sometimes backwards, but being open to learning about people and the world and trying new things in my work and life.
What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Begin now and have patience.
Do you visit your local library? If yes, what do you love about libraries?
Yes I do – most books I read are from my local library and I make notes in a Google doc – it's a great way to read (nothing like a book return deadline to assist!) but also remain a minimalist!
Where can we see more of your work?
If you'd like to receive musings on the creative process, comforting reads and the latest interviews, sign up to my newsletter at extraordinaryroutines.com
Yarra Plenty Regional Library are thrilled to have Madeleine Dore running events during Maker Month. The Art of Starting: full-day workshop with Madeleine Dore is running at Watsonia Library on the 14th March, 11.00am – 5.00pm.