After I got married at the end of September, I went on honeymoon to Croatia. It was bliss- two weeks of lying on the beach, reading books and occasionally swimming. Now of course I’m back to real life with all the admin and bills to pay.
Stopping for a little bit made me realise I’ve been rushing a lot. I’ve taken on more responsibility at work, organised a wedding and had covid twice in the last year as well as starting to run DnD sessions as a GM. Somehow, despite all this, I thought I could keep up my pandemic level of writing output, where I was writing three poems every morning, as well as updating this blog frequently while redesigning it.1. Instead, I wrote much less this year and beat myself up about it. What submissions I did make were rejected, maybe because I was rushing to get them out.2
Now I have more time, my normal response would be to double down and to try and write more. But I would like to bring some of that stillness I found in Croatia back to my normal life. I think instead of attempting to do everything at once, I’m going to slow down and try to do less. I’m going to seek slower mornings when I can, not cramming in writing, fiddling with this website, editing notes, exercising. Earlier this year I left Twitter and found that hugely beneficial, but I still get captured by the scroll of information on the web as well. I’m going to try and sit in the discomfort of being bored for a bit.
I think creativity needs these moments of stillness and slowness. I was speaking to a poet friend who said they were too busy and had no time to write. And certainly in my life when I’ve had big life changes or been busy with other things, I haven’t been able to write. It’s not about the time to sit down and do a draft, it’s the headspace to actually process everything around you. Poetry is a medium that demands slowness, both in creation and reading. It is one of the reasons I’ve become so enamoured with it over recent year. I think in order to write it you need time to listen to the silence within, find out what’s going on. So I’m going to try slowing my process down for a bit and see where that gets me. Instead of writing three drafts of a poem in the half an hour I get before work, I’m going to try to use that time to draft and edit one poem.
Partly I think this desire is seasonal. With winter encroaching the desire is too do less. But partly I think it is to be more intentional about how I spend my time.. One of the books that really changed my thinking was Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman3, which helped to clarify this desire to slow down. We all have limited time, the key is to use it with greater intentionality.