Lately, I’ve been breaking rules.
And not in a good way.
I’ve been starting the day with my cellphone, looking at my email, scrolling through Facebook, clicking over to CBC or the Guardian to check out the news.
Trump, suicide bombers, the traumatizing appropriation debate, residential school deniers, racism, rising Arctic seawater, and my own ongoing grief and sore hollow heart-space in which my brother lives… it all seems to be adding up to a life that does not feel very good these days.
For many of us, I’m sure.
Answers? Got none.
Except, I suppose, to stop breaking my own rules.
What are these rules? Pretty simple, actually.
The first: no computers (and cellphones) in bed in the morning.
The second: write.
The problem, though, is that I’m a rebel.
I preach the need for a solid, steady creative practice often (including in my online course) – and I do that because I know how frigging hard it can be.
Sometimes the ground falls out from under you and while I’m aware that this is the most important time to maintain said practice, it can also be the toughest.
That phrase – what’s the point? – wings its way through my mind until I find I’m scrolling through tweets at 7:30 a.m., burning out my fresh morning brain. You should be writing, the inner voice says, but I shrug it aside like a teenager falling asleep on her desk, assignment abandoned.
And then, morning gone, potential writing time over, and I feel like crap.
And once the crap-feeling’s taken hold, there’s A LOT these days to nourish it.
A little while ago, I wrote a post about how – for various reasons – I don’t think that writer’s block exists. It’s easy, I argued, to call something writer’s block when really it’s something else: apathy, fear, laziness (usually fear).
I stand by that, so I know that my not-writing is a few different things to do with books-in-progress, being in limbo, needing more creative food, the crazy state of the world.
I also know that there are other moving parts to feeling better – exercise, addressing tasks that need to get done, making time for friends and family, remembering that I’m grieving, etcetera.
But I know these things like I know I really shouldn’t eat the entire bag of chips….. Oh.
That’s the rebel in me.
Nobody cares if you write, I say in my course.
This is the truth.
But when I finally circle back – during times like this and/or bouts of professional jealousy and/or attacks of uncertainty about my work – what I arrive at is that, well, I have to, don’t I?
I have to care enough to remember that I’m not just writing to publish stuff. I’m writing because I must, because without writing, this sort-of stuck-ness happens and this dark world doesn’t seem joyful at all nor, actually, does it even make much sense.
I have to simply because it’s good for me. Like swallowing my morning thyroid pill in half sleep, half an hour before coffee (and I rebel against that some days too).
So here I am, taking responsibility (the very first point on this excellent post about feeling sane in a crazy world).
This is me writing down my commitment. This is me saying, sigh, here’s how tomorrow morning will go: no phone first thing, minimum ten minutes of writing, an effort to spruce up my shelter in this stormy, crazy world.