A long overdue blog from my Toronto colleague Chris Kay Fraser of www.fireflycreativewriting.com. She’ll be writing a few more posts coming up about how creative writing can help you with your marketing.
Words Are Funny Little Animals
Using creative writing to create balance, boundary and beauty in your business life.
(For Tad’s Awesome Blog)
Does this sound familiar? It’s late, and I’m at the computer, my forehead resting in my hand. I can’t remember the last time I got up. Somewhere beyond my consciousness, my body is registering signs of major fatigue. My eyes are blurry, no matter how much I rub them. But I want to put in another hour.
Now, I don’t want to be presumptuous, but if you’re reading Tad’s fabulous blog, you’re probably at some stage of self-employment. And, with the fall coming, I’m guessing that you have a lot of work ahead of you, and you’re wondering how you’re going to take care of it while you get it all done.
Before I was self-employed I imagined that it would be like a gorgeous meadow of freedom and time. I learned quickly, though, that I’m not always my best boss. Any other boss would take one look at me on that late-night computer binge and say, “Holy crap, girl. Go to bed.” It would be unethical to work someone else this hard.
But it’s only me in here, and my motivation is often stronger than my self-compassion.
So, I’m here, hijacking Tad’s blog for a couple posts to talk about how I’ve managed, and not managed, to use writing to navigate the sometimes-stormy waters of my self-employed adventure, which will heretofore be referred to as my S.E.A. My business is writing* – I run workshops and retreats, cajoling out people’s stories. Slowly, I’ve realized just how much magic these tools have in store for my and my business itself.
Writing has formed a little life-raft for me, for when the self-employed seas are choppy. In the next few blog posts, I’ll give you some ideas and questions and toots to make a life raft your own. Of course, you could also make a cruise-boat with patio chairs and indoor pools. Or a dark green submarine. The metaphor is yours.
In the next three posts, I’m going to share three tools with you.
1. The work journal.
2. Keeping the creative lights on.
3. Self-loving-love letters.
I’d also like to hear your stories. Please don’t be shy to use the box below to chime in. We’re only as alone as we allow.
Here’s the first tool I’ll offer you: The work journal.
This is a pretty simple concept. Every morning, before I sit down at my computer, before I take any calls or start reading through anyone’s stories, I take out my work journal and I write, draw or doodle one page about how I feel.
There’s no formula, the idea is just to slow down enough to connect to what’s really going on before I begin my day. Sometimes I draw a little face to show my mood, sometimes I record dreams, sometimes I rant about something that’s upsetting me.
At the end of the day, I do the same thing. This may happen at four in the afternoon or it may not happen until 2am. It’s important to me that I’m not putting limits when my workday should end, just ensuring that it does end, and that I’m not carrying my work into my sleep and dreams.
Keeping a work journal lets me:
1. Gently witness what’s happening in my work day. No matter how hard I work myself, how tired I get, I need to be willing to see it. This makes a little bit of room for the self-compassion which is often lacking when I’m not paying attention.
2. See trends arising in my emotional life. If I’ve started every morning anxious for five days, I can begin to ask important questions and address what’s really going on.
3. Consciously start and end my day. Since I work from home and there’s no actual space between myself and my business, the work journal is an important symbol for opening and closing my day. It’s a little like flicking on and off a light in the office in my brain.
4. It reminds me that I am more than my business. When I first started the work journal, I became aware of how long a day really was! After ending my day, instead of mindlessly heading back to the computer to send more emails, I began to play the guitar more, I took the time to weed my garden, or call my parents. I bought a ukelele and taught myself to play. I took a hula hoping class. I have a lot to thank that little book for.
So? What does this say to you?
Does the idea sound terrible and limiting or is it exciting and inviting? Have you tried anything similar yourself? Would you consider it?
Talk to me!
And stay tuned…. My next post on this blog will be on keeping your creative lights shining.