An apt description of this past week, and next week, and the week after that.
Besides my current 40-hour-a-week day job, I’ve been working on an editing job for a new client. It’s taken some time, probably more than I originally thought (which is good; she likes what I’m doing with it and she is writing an awesome book). Next week and the week after, I’m thankful to be logging an extra 40 hours working catering at the Western and Southern Financial Group Masters tennis tournament in Mason, Ohio (you gotta take the gigs you get when you can get ’em).
I’m already tired just thinking about it.
Where in the midst of this busy-ness is time for writing my novel? Not much of that is going to happen in the next week or so, unless I steal a few moments in the far-too-early a.m., which I plan to do. Still, most of my available time is promised to other obligations.
I’ve told myself, “It’s only three weeks, I can do that.” I CAN do it, but I know me well, and I know that somewhere in these three weeks my mind and body will be screaming at me to find room to rest.
We all need rest, and I’m not going to get into the mental and physical reasons behind that fact. What I am going to do is remember the importance of having enough ‘rest room’ in our creative lives.
Some years ago, when I decided to take my writing and my writing career seriously, I was given a book called The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. Personally, it was life-changing. While I’m no longer doing my ‘morning pages’ (three handwritten freewriting pages when you first get up in the morning), I still practice another idea from the book, the Artist’s Date.
Artist’s Dates are simply this: you go out by yourself and do something that feeds you creatively. It can be a movie, a walk on the beach, or anything where you can just relax, let go of strife and obligations, and just BE…and be doing something you are loving to do.
The first Artist Date I took myself on was to a local art house to see an independent film. Unfortunately it was all about the heroine’s latent desire to practice necrophilia whenever possible (she worked in a funeral home). While it got me out of my comfort zone, it wasn’t the date I’d imagined it would be.
But it was valuable. It stretched my limits and it made me think (almost made me sick, too). Mostly though, the value was in this: my purposed intent to feed my creativity helped affirm my internal definition of myself as an artist.
I still occasionally go on Artist’s Dates with myself. It’s a good way to rest, and a good way to refresh the well out of which all of our art arises. If you practice creativity in any form, I encourage you to do the same. Your art and your life will be better for it.
As for these three weeks, I’ll be looking for rest room. I know if I don’t find some, I’ll feel like I’ve been flushed.