Friday, May 6, 2011

Put on your own mask first

My good friend Tamara commented on my last post with the phrase above. It's so appropriate in so many parts of my life, any time I'm tempted to take care of others first, especially my clients. It's so easy for me to get stuck in work mode where I get a chance to be capable and competent and needed. And before I know it, I'm way out of balance and tired and stressed and can hardly muster the energy for any of the creative work.

In fact, for all of us who find that creative time, whether it's painting or writing or collaging or acting or doodling or gardening or cooking, is a part of our health and well-being, doing that first makes us more friendly, happy, helpful, thoughtful because it makes us whole.

Putting on my own mask first means journaling every day, it means writing on Writing Fridays, it means putting glue to paper or working with color as many days as I possibly can. It means making sure I've several creative dates planned in my calendar for the weeks ahead. Seeing them in my calendar helps remind me of that purpose in my life. It means planning creative retreats every couple of months so that there is sustained time to immerse myself in whatever projects are currently underway. And as I've mentioned in some recent posts, for me, it also involves having projects that I announce to others and developing ways to be accountable to fulfil on those projects.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Moving into the next project

Since April 15, when I wrote the 100th poem in my self-imposed challenge, I haven't done any creative writing at all. It's 2-1/2 weeks and that's a long stretch for me. One of my reasons for having Writing Fridays is to make sure each week something gets written, so I stay in practice and momentum. But on April 22, I did some administrative work around my books and last week I was in Minnesota preparing to give a speech, and I've had lots of work and on and on. The truth is, I just haven't carved out the time to write a fictional prompt or another poem or to sit down to my novel, which is patiently waiting.

I do see the need for a bit of fallow time after one project's over and so I'm not feeling guilty but I also know that I need to get back at it as I'm definitely losing momentum and the habit of writing daily. It's also easy for me to relapse into workaholism where my clients' needs are more important than my own. And I guess I have some fear that my creativity will slip away from me if I don't keep my hand in.

So I am moving on to the next project, which is to complete the second draft of my novel by August 1. I am also going to begin writing a fictional prompt 10 minutes a day and complete 100 of these by Labor Day. That seems a good goal, especially as both of my novels have gotten their start in those kinds of prompts.

Looking forward to balancing back into my creative priority this next week.