The artist Róisín O’Farrell did a great post today on how she handles bad days in the studio. She’s a prolific artist and her paintings are snapped up. It’s one of my secret ambitions to own one of her paintings some day ( and have the requisite lovely home to put it in!)
I especially appreciated her comment that sometimes you need to have a bit of compassion for yourself, don’t bully yourself when it’s just not happening.
Today I’m taking her advice. The past two weeks have been tough dealing with my 4 year old’s storms and I’m very, very tired. When the baby went for his nap, I made some coffee and sat and did my morning pages, a writing/spiritual practise that is becoming indispensible once again. Then I called my sister and then I just sat in the silence for a bit. Sometimes, the body just needs that.
And there’s the baby calling so off I go again….
A small practise I have developed thanks to Donald Miller and his Creating Your Own Lifeplan project, is to write, at the start of every day ‘If I had this day over I’d…’ It orients the day beautifully, helps you see where your heart is for the day, what your soul needs to. It’s like setting an intention for the day and I’ve found it really helpful as we slog on into the maelstrom of the autumn term.
This morning, I wrote,
If I had today over, I’d write in every nook and cranny
So that’s what I’m doing. The baby is playing on the floor and the two big kids are trashing the living room building a fort. The floors need hoovered, the kitchen needs cleaned, I could probably do with putting a wash on but I’m discovering that when it comes to combating the stress I feel being at home, writing helps.
This morning the baby slept for an hour and a half and I chipped away at Chapter 5. I’m into new territory with my story having decided to make a major change and so I feel like I’m back in Shitty First Draft land when I should be confidently striding forth. Last night I called in to a Writer Friend’s house – we meet once a week to write in the same room together, a way of keeping accountable and keeping up the word count. The lap top didn’t get opened but I sat with my first three chapters, my notes and graphs and figured out the structure of the next section of the story.
At times it feels like the most daunting, impossible thing to be attempting but actually, I am so committed now that every attempt to put my arse in the chair is a small victory. Even writing a blog post like this feels like a healthy dose of self care if nothing else.
So grab those nooks and crannies, scribble, paint, dance, sing. It all adds up to strengthen your gift and loosen the tension at the base of the skull.
A friend of mine is soon presenting her own work for public consumption. She’s one of the bravest people I know. It’s not easy being an actor in a small town, when there isn’t a lot of work but she has persevered. I’ve watched her, in awe, it has to be said, as she has spoken her dreams out loud, made plans and gone for them. I’ve watched her trust the Universe for its co-operation, expected good things and gone after what her heart’s desires. It’s not been a pain free ride, but I’ve seen her smile and laugh and sigh with happiness on many occasions.
People will come and watch her work and applaud her no doubt. They’ll say she did a great job, they’ll admire her gifts in writing and performance. But they won’t have seen the sheer tenacity, the courage it takes to get up every morning and write about things dear to the heart. They won’t have watched her grow in beauty and wisdom.
I have seen her. I have watched her go where angels fear to tread, her heart pumping her life force all over her sleeve.
Here’s to you my dear brave friend. May your work be a blessing to all who see it. You are amazing.