I’ve been back from Europe for a week now, and I’m struggling to get the blogging routine re-started. Then I began to wonder how much of a priority that was anyways. I have ideas for other writing projects. Working part-time, being a mum, managing a blog and working on a WIP… honestly, it’s hard to do all of these things. That’s not counting in any kind of social interaction. When single in London, I barely managed to produce anything but a few notes. I put so much time into dancing and going out with friends. The only time I did, was when I took a break specifically to work on my writing. I wrote a little novel in three months.
As it stands, once I start running, I run like a well-oiled machine. I start to resist change, even when I want it. It’s a cycle that’s hard to break. Once I am productive and I can see results, then the question is why I should dismiss that routine for a phase of no results. Then it hit me, I’m still very much result-driven. That might be the downside to social media, or running a blog. You look at blog posts, number of visits, likes and such! But, how would that ever help or bring me closer to writing another novel?
I did a writing class in London which was around building characters. It was useful and inspiring, but I haven’t used anything I’ve learned yet. Travel ate up a lot of my time, and now the blog gets in the way?! Travelling is a good reason when you’re spending time with people that you don’t get to see much. You appreciate the time you’re spending with them, and personally I didn’t want to reduce that time by working on my writing. We had excellent conversations and connected deeply, which is easier when you meet.
Sometimes we have to hit the stop pedal, come to a halt and look left and right before we continue our journey. We should listen to our heart and have a real look at our priorities, understand our capacities and what to direct them at. I’m really no good at it. Last year I declared that I’d seek to establish a balance between doing me and being a mother. I still worry too much about Layali. I’ve learned that she loves going to nursery, so it’s easy to send her in in the morning now. When it’s just the two of us though, there always needs to be some sort of programme, otherwise I feel like I’m not being a good mother. I rarely leave her with someone else. I only ever use my alone time to read or write, and naturally, as a social person, I miss meeting people and doing other things. It does energise me, and it feeds my soul and imagination.
The routine I had just before travelling has to stop. I felt run-down and needed to recharge. To me, that’s so far from the state of equilibrium that I was trying to achieve. I knew I was powering through, but what’s the point in doing that if your holidays are going to get spent on recharging? What I love about yoga, is the calmness, serenity and the being in the moment. I also get those moments when I dance, swim, read or write, but not when I succumb to a tight schedule, while I try to fit a million other things in.
Sometimes being idle is good: just sit and stare. We don’t notice mobile phones, social media or other distractions. We’re present, exploring ourselves and our own thoughts. How can the amount of information that we constantly consume be healthy? How do we look inwards if we can’t switch off from the outwards? The thing is, I know to stay away from the telly, but being addicted to my phone is not the moral high that I was aiming for. I have phases where I won’t take my eyes off the phone, and I hate it. Like when I try to write a good blog article, and I feel I have to do some research first. Why is what I know and have experienced so much less interesting than reproducing what has already been said? Why do I feel the need to verify all of my observations? I don’t like a novel because it’s based on one of Freud’s, Darwin’s or Einstein’s theories, do I now? Still I feel like I sound better with the support of anyone who can use the publish-button online.
Unlearning what we’ve learned in childhood is so hard. I had a teacher who was so traumatised by his religious upbringing that he constantly ranted about how he actively worked on wiping everything he had learned off his memory. I know that school did a lot of damage when it rewarded me for good results. I know. Still I follow it, because it’s so ingrained. What I need to do now is to understand that focusing on my WIP won’t attract new followers and likes. It won’t deliver any immediate gratification. I went through the process once. Finishing my first novel made me feel like I conquered the world!
This is an announcement that I will focus on other projects now as well. Being a better mother by prioritizing myself. Working on my other ideas. Living in the moment a little bit more. Maybe going back to yoga and finally give meditation a try? I need to take a point in time each week, where I reset myself, so I work less like a well-oiled machine. Allow myself to read Bridget Jones, even though I’ve done it already. Look at my daughter and wonder how she can repeat her favourite nursery rhymes a trillion times and won’t feel bored. Be idle. Feel bored sometimes. Why the hell not? Listen to my inner voice and feel me.