I’ve been back from Europe now for a week and I’m struggling to get the blogging routine re-started. And 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. And that’s not counting in any kind of social interaction. 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. And I wrote a little novel in three months.
And as it stands, when I once 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. And it hit me, I’m still very much result-driven. And 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 of what I’ve learned yet. Travel got in the way; 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. Good conversations, getting to know the people that are my family and friends, that seemed so much more rewarding.
But sometimes we have to hit the stop pedal. Smoothly or hard! Look left and right before we continue our journey. 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. But when it’s just the two of us, 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 also feeds my core and my imagination.
The routine I had just before travelling has to stop. I felt run-down and needed the 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 get those moments also when I dance or swim. When I read and also when I 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. No mobile phones, social media or other distractions. Being with yourself and your own thoughts. The amount of information that we constantly take in! How can that be healthy? How do we look inwards if we can’t switch off from the outwards? And the thing is, I very much know to stay away from the telly; but being addicted to my phone is not the moral high that I was aiming for. The nerve to think I was better than others! 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? And still I feel like I sound better with the support of anyone really 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 it and 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. But 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. But – I went through the process once. And finishing my first novel made me feel like on top of the world!
So, I guess 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 know it. 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. Feel me.