I’ve often written, on this blog and elsewhere, about the utility of routine: the good habits that let you get over the getting-started hump or past the blank-page anxiety and into your creative stride.
When I started this blog, more than a year ago now, I set myself a somewhat punishing daily-posting schedule. For a while, I kept this up; then I cut the frequency back to four fixed days a week; then, after an enforced hiatus during my trip to Lviv, childhood home of my paternal grandmother, the blog lapsed altogether: as soon as I broke the discipline of regular posting (at whatever frequency), I found it all too easy to do nothing at all.
If there’s a (belated) New Year’s challenge for this year, it lies in the conundrum of the occasional: making time for those non-routine, non-compulsory activities that tend to get trumped by deadlines, chores and other more “necessary” (or simply more automated) priorities.
I’m extremely bad at resting and relaxing – something I’m particularly aware of at the moment because, having spent two weeks in Melbourne over the holidays, I didn’t get my usual collapse-in-bed-for-five-days-at-Christmas recovery period. I rarely “go out” (though, being an introvert, I tend to think of this as a privilege rather than a hardship!), but even finding time for chill-out activities like watching a DVD or reading a book can be problematic.
Some of this unrelaxedness is “justifiable” – sleep, for example, is always a higher priority than postponeable leisure because I need so much of it to sustain my creativity. Much of my busyness, though, is paradoxically due to a kind of laziness: it’s easier to plug on with all the regular stuff, even if it’s not actually urgent, than to make the effort to decide that now is the time to do something relaxing, unusual or simply unscheduled.
When I started this blog, I proved to myself that it’s possible to blog every day (and, eventually, that trying to do so isn’t a good idea if you have (a) another career and (b) a family.) Perhaps the challenge now is to prove to myself that it’s possible to blog occasionally, without a regular schedule; to use the blog as a kind of “resting on the page”, as Julia Cameron would say, and thereby as a baby step towards actually resting, once in a while.