In the Toilet

Well, my month of blogging every day is pretty much in the toilet. I’m not beating myself up over it, I just feel a bit sheepish. But the point of this space is honesty and accountability, right? So here I am, being honest and accountable. I’ve been feeling sick the last few days, both a cold and my period hitting me with a one-two punch yesterday. All I’ve wanted to do is sleep. And I have been doing a lot of that, when I can.

I have still been writing daily, just not here. I’ve been writing with my two-week writing group, a ten minute prompted freewrite every day. There are some beautiful, brave women in this group. I read their free writes and in awe, I think: “this is your first draft?” And I feel small and insignificant but the point is just to write in spite of the inner critic, and I’ve been doing that, at least.

If I were to attempt a daily poetry practice, as I’ve been contemplating these past few weeks, I would have to make provisions for sickness and for monthly cycles. I would have to be sure to honour myself when my mind is foggy, find a way to still come to the page without much pressure on those days. Ten minute free writes are good, manageable. It’s something to think about, or maybe I should just leap and trust the net of inspiration will catch me.

We’re off to Vancouver for a two nights, to take both the boys to see specialists at the children’s hospital (for routine things that we just can’t do in the territory). I will try to make my way here over the next few days. I’m not promising anything, though.

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Daily Practice

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I spend a lot of time thinking about daily practices: how to fit them in and how they might change me. If I practiced something every day for one year, how would my experience of that thing be at the end of the year? How would it be going forward? I first experimented with a daily practice when I was learning about photography a few years ago. I made several attempts at a daily photo project. I don’t think I ever made it to 100 consecutive days. But even after those 40 or 50 days, I was a better photographer than when I’d begun.

What is important enough to me to practice every day? I think about a daily meditation practice, a daily practice of moving my body, a daily practice of writing. And they all feel important to me. Do I have to choose just one, at this point in my life? Truthfully, the only things I have done every day without fail for the last five years have to do with keeping babies alive and well. My own well-being is an afterthought. But it’s time to return myself to the foreground, time to find my way back to a daily practice, or to several daily practices. Because I’m intrigued by the idea of how I might be changed if I did something every day for a whole year. The discipline involved, the deep commitment to myself and my goals, is unfamiliar territory.

I want to prioritize a daily writing practice. Because I can practice mindfulness as I go about my regular day, and isn’t that one of the end goals of meditation? To be more mindful, more present with whatever arises? I practice that in real time. And I do move my body, though often at a toddler’s pace. The maximum weight I lift is that of my baby. But writing is a muscle that I feel I need to keep flexing if I’m ever going to go somewhere with it. I feel an urgency there, too, that I don’t necessarily feel with the other things. I know that in a few years I’ll have so much more free time (right?) but I feel like I’ve already wasted so much time in not writing. When that time magically opens up in the near future, I want to be further along, as a writer, than I am now. So I think about what a daily writing practice could look like for me. I keep trying, and then losing the thread, because life changes, schedules change, naps change, we move and move again. It’s hard to maintain such a focused routine as writing, through all that. I make excuses; it falters and dies and I begin to worry the Muse will forget where to find me.

This month, I’m going to try something a bit different. This month is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, where very eager and well prepared people try to write a draft of a novel over the course of 30 days. I am not ready for that. But coinciding with this month is National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo. That is something I can do. I like the idea of blogging daily as opposed to, say, writing a poem a day, because I typically write a post and hit publish with little editing. The focus is on just coming to the page and writing. I’m going to post here every day for the next month, as a way of showing up for myself and my craft. I hope it will be a way for me to jumpstart a daily practice. There are others doing this very thing this month, and I hope that community coupled with the fact that there are people (10’s of people!) who read my blog will keep me accountable.

I’m not sure what will come out of it, or who I might be at the end of the month. I’ll at least be a person who has blogged every day for 30 days, right? If I keep showing up, the words will find me.

Image via Flickr user Anonymous Account