I am terrible at blogging, so I’m trying to tie blogging into something I love: coffee. So here we go, unwinding the complication of internalization of experience into a cohesive (and enjoyable) layering of expectation. All with a cup of coffee in hand. I theorize, if I blog while I have my coffee, then I won’t suck so bad at posting updates. It’s a theory; we’ll see how well it works.
Two weekends have passed since I set up my office. Such a simple word: office. It is more than mere office, but a place to be creative, to play games, to make a space my own. In the last house, my husband and I shared an office and I’ll be the first to admit that I miss that closeness.
There’s always a but, see. I am eternally enchanted by the idea that I have my own space to craft, write, and play games. I have made a piece of jewelry, crafted from a kit, but the desk works well for my purposes. It was a good experience to re-learn how to hold the pliers and remind myself how to make decent closures. Not decent. Perfect. I have a lot of natural light in my office and I’ve surrounded myself with light, airy colors so it makes it easy to check myself.
Before every beautiful thing, though, is a scattering of pieces. Some in brilliant colors that have their own beauty. Some filled with darkness, scattered among the beauty. How will it be put together? How you place each piece is what determines the pattern for any chainmaille jewelry. But the same ideas and principles can correspond to many things. Life, for example, is nothing but a tapestry made up of brilliant and dark pieces. Moments, sliced into many pieces and re-fit together into a pattern we understand. In the same way, so is a story. The bracelet looked like this in its infancy.
It took me a few days to make the bracelet, largely because I started before I was ready. That is the crux. It is much more difficult to finish if you start at the wrong spot. That’s not to say it is impossible. I finished the bracelet, but what should have taken me an afternoon ended up taking a week or more because I started before my office was finished. Instead, I jumped too early into something without the necessary tools.
Oh, I had pliers and rings and a map to go by, but what I didn’t have were time and space. I think we negate the value of time and our surroundings in favor of making sure we have the correct tools at our disposal. Or at least, I do. I tend to jump in feet first thinking that my arsenal of weaponry is enough.
It isn’t. Time and a good surrounding do a whole lot more for the creative mind than I usually credit. How do I create these? Time is the hardest, carved out of a busy day, but space is easier. Whether it’s your own office or a space you set aside for yourself, make it cozy. Make it work for you. Is it coffee and sunlight, spilling through an open window? Then that’s the space you should attempt to achieve.
So in the end, I extrapolated my struggles with making jewelry into lessons learned for my writing. I am pleased to say that waiting for the correct Time in an inviting Space fueled my creativity. The words flowed from a well that had refilled after months of absence. Another critical component: absence. Another facet of time. Sometimes distance and enforced breaks do wonders for the product produced when you finally sit down to complete that task. Even if you’re on a deadline, distancing yourself helps prevent burnout. When you become so entrenched that you find yourself lost in the trees of a forest that seems impossible to navigate, it’s time for a break. Well, for me. All of these thoughts are lessons for myself, though some — in part or whole — might resonate with the reader.
So in the end, after two weekends, I managed to weave 7,000 new words on what I hope will be the final manuscript. I didn’t push myself. One weekend, I did 3,000ish words. Last weekend, I did 4,000ish words. I played WoW. I watched TV. I went outside in the sunshine. I read books.
And I do not feel guilty. Deadlines help bring a project to close, but they need to be realistic to the rhythm of your life. I set false deadlines all the time, driving myself forward with a cruel whip of you’ll never get anywhere if you do nothing, why are you playing that game when you could be writing?
Set achievable goals. Set realistic expectations. Get out, enjoy life, and don’t feel guilty. Give yourself Time and make a Space to enjoy all the possibilities around you.
For no other reason than my life revolves around my cats more often than not, here is my Winter, enjoying her own Time in a Space she’s made her own.