The Artist that writes
I love to write. It keeps me happy and it keeps me sane. But to keep writing, with all of life’s responsibilities, distractions and writerly setbacks, I have to do more than just turn up on the page. I have to live creatively. I have to remind myself, time and again, that being a writer is like being an artist. People like Julie Cameron, The Artist’s Way, wouldn’t make a distinction between the two.
And if we know anything, we know that artists can be high maintenance. We get hungry. And bored. And over excited. Not to mention anxious, neurotic, depressed. We need feeding. And soothing. And entertaining and challenging.
Starve the artist at your peril, for she will rise up and eat you whole! To be honest, I starve my artist pretty regularly so I know what I’m talking about.
I know what balance looks like, but I’m chasing it more than feeling it. Sometimes it descends in all its glory and for a few fleeting days I’m in the flow.
Walking the Walk
This blog is about me walking the walk a little more. It’s a celebration of the stuff that works for me. It’s a sharing. An exploring. We’re all trying to find our way, aren’t we? Looking for the right path. Trying things out. Learning skills and putting ourselves out there in the world in the hope of doing a good job. Or finding an audience. Or, better still, acceptance.
Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do.” I’m not big on quotes but I love this! We are what we repeatedly do. If we repeatedly write, we become a writer. If we repeatedly love, we are loving. If we repeatedly nourish ourselves we are nourished.
I struggle with this constantly… It would take just half an hour out of my day, in between working, to walk up into the woods and listen to the water flowing. I could take a notebook and scribble some thoughts. Or think of nothing, being mindful instead. Give my tired mind a rest.
Or I could take my time making a really beautiful fruit salad (I love the colours, the smell, the taste). Or make a cup of tea and treat myself to fifteen minutes of reading one of the books from the pile next to my bed. I could choose to pepper my day with snatches of rest and nourishment. Why don’t I?
I am one of those people that chooses exhaustion much of the time. I want to be a great mum to my teenage daughters and a great wife to my husband. I want to be a good friend and I want a clean house.
More than anything I want to be a writer – a proper, published writer (yes, yes, I know). It has been my dream for as long as I can remember. It makes me anxious, and my natural response to anxiety is to work. To fix. Learn. Practise. Push. To keep on keeping on.
I make myself ill with my wanting when it isn’t tempered with resting and laughter. I create problems, conflict, mental ill health when I stop enjoying the process and focus only on the end goal. I forget to notice, if I am not careful, all the beauty around me. I forget to be grateful. I forget to take time out. I forget to nourish myself and see my friends. The result? Suffering.
This blog is a chance to hold myself to account. Yes, it’s about writing. Yes, it’s about coaching. But mainly it’s about living more creatively. A little more spaciously. Searching for the holy grail of balance.