It was a glorious Easter this year, and what made it extra special was the gathering of all my family at my house. Yay!
But that called for extra special cleaning AND cooking on the Saturday before, which looked a little something like this:
Clean the downstairs where all that gathering would be (which took a couple of hours even though it’s only me and Libs here and I basically occupy the same 10 square feet every day).
Rest for an hour. Or so.
Fix the muffins and the pasta salad (which took another hour or so ‘cause there were two kinds of muffins and I didn’t really know what I was doing, pasta salad-wise).
Rest for an hour. Or so.
Clean the kitchen and an upstairs bathroom (‘cause there’s always some Junior Hall who can’t wait five minutes and insists on going upstairs to use the facilities).
Put my feet up for the rest of the evening and watch TV.
Now, there was a time I could do four consecutive hours of cleaning on a Saturday and then go out to the ballpark to watch a Junior Hall’s game and then have a cookout that evening, wash a load of clothes (because the uniform, right?), and stay up long enough to watch SNL. But those days are done, friends; that time in my life when I could go for hours like the battery bunny are over. But that doesn’t mean I’m done. I can still get ‘er done, just at my own pace.
And it occurred to me that writing is a bit like that. Or rather, a lot like that. There are times in our lives when we can go, go, go with our writing projects. Whether it’s because we’re intrinsically motivated with a high degree of creative energy and that spurs us on, or we have more flexibility in our schedules to give more time to our writing, the bottom line is the same: we have periods of super-productivity.
But we also have times in our lives when our productivity sags, perhaps even to none at all. We hit a writing desert when ideas are sparse and our motivation is even sparser. Or maybe it’s jobs or family or friends or health concerns that take up every hour in the day. There’s little energy left for creative endeavors, particularly when we feel like there will be little if any reward if we use our precious spare time on the arts.
But that doesn’t mean we’re done, either. It’s not easy to toss away that compulsion to create, to bring our ideas to life in words or whatever. It might mean going in a new direction, or it might be time to take a break. But mostly, it’s just finding our own pace and accepting ourselves where we are. ‘Cause whether it’s cleaning and cooking for the people we love or pulling out a much-loved, years-old manuscript for a fresh look, we can get ‘er done on our own terms, in our own time.
I may be a turtle these days, but I’m okay with that. Slow and steady still wins the race!