Q&A: Madeleine Dore
Madeleine Dore is truly a self-made woman. From the insightful, polished interviews on her beautifully designed Extraordinary Routines website, to her information-packed weekly newsletters, as well as a regular free event series, Side Project Sessions, helping to inspire extra-curricular creative passion, you’d be forgiven for thinking that she has a whole team of content experts behind her. But aside from a few key contributors, Madeleine has built this impressive portfolio on her own.
Starting her project Extraordinary Routines out of genuine curiosity to learn about processes of creatives she admired, Madeleine’s interviews are thoughtful and philosophical, going beyond the safe and standard questions to really get into the nitty-gritty of her subject’s habits, hopes, dreams, fears and approach to life. Featuring local and international talents the likes of Zoe Foster Blake, Ashley C Ford, and Yassmin Abdel-Magied (to name only a few), Madeleine gets straight to the good stuff, understands the value of the hustle, and knows how to get shit done.
We chatted to the writer, interviewer and content strategist about the quest for the perfect routine, some of her milestone moments, and being a 'lazy high achiever' ahead of her workshop, Workin’ 9-5 [And On The Side!], at LOL Space next week.
Can you tell me a little about why you initially started Extraordinary Routines, and why you think it has resonated with so many people?
At the time, I was a fresh graduate wanting to build a career as an arts writer and the creative industries seemed very mysterious to me. How did people may it work, day by day? How do people juggle the ordinary while also pursuing the extraordinary?
I think this is a very common curiosity because often we are only privy to a curated version of someone’s work or life. I’ve found this particular interview format to be a great way to illuminate the diversity of creative experiences – the lack of routine, the burnout, the challenges, the floundering, the emotional, mental and financial strains that from the outside can be hidden from view.
How much of your week do you dedicated to ER and Side Project Sessions as well as other projects (what are they)? How do you generally structure your own days?
One of the reasons I started Side Project Sessions was because I’d always struggled to be consistent with Extraordinary Routines, so now I have at least three hours every fortnight to dedicate to writing up interviews and putting together my regular newsletter. I will also conduct interviews, share posts on social media and do research around that time.
The Melbourne Side Project Sessions event has become a well-oiled machine, so lately I’ve been committing around 1-2 days a week now to the licensing side of things and helping new hosts set up chapters in their city!
My daily routine is still very much a work in progress! As a freelancer, each day is different and at the whim of my idleness or the looming of a deadline. I’ve gone through bursts of waking up early, making coffee and sitting at my desk to write for 3-4 hours straight. Other days, I’ll do what can only be described as dilly-dallying all morning, hopping around cafes or libraries, or working till at a tight to meet a deadline I procrastinated on during the day.
Having a typical cycle of deadlines really helps – I have a handful of columns that I file the
same time every month, a fortnightly newsletter, and a fortnightly event to organise so that
helps provide structure as well as some security financially.
I continue to experiment with my daily routine based on what I learn through my interviews.
What have been a few major milestone moments that have got you where you are today?
Learning that done is perfect and finally pressing publish on my first interview with Extraordinary Routines – that one small moment has led to landing a dream job, interviewing incredible creative minds, writing columns for some of my favourite publications as well as uncovering more knowledge and insights on building a creative career.
What’s a dream you’ve had to let go of over time, and what did you learn from that?
Find the perfect routine – there is no such thing and I think I’ll always be ad-hoc with my own habits!
What’s something you want people to know about you that might not come across otherwise?
I’m a very lazy high-achiever!
Book? How to Live on 24-Hours a Day – Arnold Bennett
Song/playlist? I’m slowly building a deep work playlist for Side Project Sessions!
Podcast? On Being, The Knowledge Project, Design Matters, To The Best of Our Knowledge, WorkLife
Film clip? Hi Stranger – gives me a pick me up in just the same way a favourite song would!
Scent? Garlic and onions sautéing in a pan!
Snack? Cheese – cheese on apple slices, cheese on toast, cheese on crackers, cheesey dip!
Insta account? @__nitch
Photography by Marie Luise