In July of 2014 I had an opportunity to join an Open Studio Co-Working Party courtesy of Cairene MacDonald at Third Hand Works. The experience was fascinating, and one I’d like to repeat in 2015. The session offered several helpful ideas on achieving a balanced workflow, but the one I found hardest to manifest in daily life dealt with celebrating accomplishments and replenishing energy. If you don’t understand why this concept was difficult for me, good for you. If however, you are nodding your head in understanding maybe we should try to understand why this seemed so hard.
I can recall relaxing in a bubble bath as a 20-something year old; an assortment of candles flickering around the edge of the tub while I skimmed through a magazine and wrinkled my nose at the article exhorting overworked women to take time for them. The author listed several small examples of self-care, which seemed silly. Who needed advice on something this simple?
Well, I’m no longer in my 20’s, and I can’t tell you the last time I kicked back in a froth of scented bubbles. Even if I thought about it, the only candles I have in the house are probably of the birthday cake variety. Pretty useless unless I paused to bake some cupcakes to use as candleholders. Sound familiar? Apparently, that article was written for women like us. And the advice? Even more important now. Because somewhere along the way of taking care of everyone else we forgot to take care of ourselves.
I’m convinced this concept of celebration and replenishment is as vital in our writing life as it is in our day-to-day reality. Too often the push is on a higher word count, the next chapter, the next release. We forget our stories are comprised of a series of baby steps, each one building to the whole, and each one deserving of recognition and celebration.
When’s the last time you took a moment to replenish? To celebrate any one of the many accomplishments in your harried day? Especially the small ones. If you have to think about the question, it’s been too long. A car doesn’t run on empty, neither does our brain, heart, or soul. If you already understand the importance of recognizing your accomplishments, great! Share with us one of your replenishing rewards.
But, if you find this a foreign concept, let’s stop and consider: What could we do to celebrate our mini milestones? And by mini milestone I mean anything from scrubbing the toilet, folding that last load of clothes, or reaching the end of a writing session.
Could we email a writing buddy? Tweet a quick "Go me"? How about tossing a handful of brightly colored confetti in the air, or my personal favorite, running around the house for 30 seconds with our arms raised in triumph? Okay, maybe the last one is a little heavy on the dork factor, but it’s seriously fun. Go ahead, try it. :) Give your inner dork some time in the sun.
No matter what we choose, the bigger question is, can we remember to make this type of replenishment part of our daily routine in 2015? What do you think? Could your life use a little more celebration?