necessary medicine

Good morning! After 7am and the birds are just now waking up in the live oak tree behind the apartment — I guess the rain kept them inside, too. The puppy’s not up yet, either. I think she knows what we’re gonna find when we head out into the city. Today, I’m grateful for the thick grey wet out there. Been up and working since 4:30. It’s almost time for a breakfast break.

Yesterday I had my third workshop in four days; it was a full stretch, starting on Thursday afternoon, and today I’m in a re-centering mode. How do you find your balance?  During the workshops (two of which are manuscript-driven), I have the opportunity to be with new words, to connect with writers who are seeking space to generate new material or have their work engaged in a serious and considered way. I get to create space for the writers to enter (set up the food, set out the handouts in a cleaned workshop circle, settle the puppy into her playdate during workshop time) and then I hold the frame for us to write and share within. This is good and engaging work, a profoundly creative space — I felt wildly fortunate to get to be in these sorts of spaces with so many brilliant and gorgeous writers over just the last four days!

And then today the introvert- and writer-me is thinking about the balance of workshop time and writing time, and how we tend to others while also tending to ourselves. Today will be a writing-focused day, a day devoted to the several writing projects am developing. It will be a day less focused on what energy I can give to others’ work. Therefore: a selfish day.

Now, this is what I’ve learned in these about ten years with writing ourselves whole: If I don’t take the time to tend to my own writing projects, I become an unuseful workshop facilitator. I get resentful and crabby and martyr-y and defensive, which is not so much fun. So today, because I have learned my lessons the hard way, I know it’s time to resettle the balance. It’s not necessary to drive myself to a place of complete exhaustion and overwhelm before I set out the Do Not Disturb sign and get some of my own work done. Selfish is necessary medicine for any of us who do work that is of service to others, for those of us especially who adore being of service to others.

What does selfish look like or mean for you or your characters? What could it mean? Give yourself at least ten minutes with that word today — or, let’s go for twenty. Follow your writing wherever it wants to go: maybe write Selfish at the top of the page, then move into writing what you’ve been really wanting to write.

Thank you for the ways you nurture your creative needs, and the needs of your creative self, the ways you hold balance for others, and the ways you are learning to hold balance for yourself. Thank you for your self care. Thank you for your words.


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