I am so sorry I abandoned you. It’s been two weeks since I last wrote a single word for myself. You’ve waited patiently in the background, but the sense of words choking my veins, needing to get out, words shapeshifting into feelings of anxiety and self-doubt, has been palpable. You Writing, did not abandon me as I have abandoned you.
What a relief it is to sit right here, right now – to go to the page today and write this ‘blog-to-self’ – the post I most need to read.
The truth is I’m a bit crap at prioritising my own writing time. If every writer has their ‘wound’ then that is mine. It’s not that procrastination or writers block keeps me from the page, but rather the ‘stuff’ of life. Eminently justifiable stuff such as the paid freelance work I need to do most days, magazine deadlines, the preparation of my Life Writing workshop (I delivered week one last night and it was wonderful), the seemingly endless stream of social media attendance I do as part of my work that has no determinable end (unless I myself draw a line). There are children and school events, horses and friends and family. And rest. Sometimes it feels that everything exists to steal my time, and while I can be effective in stealing it back, my writing soul aches for long stretches of musing time to wander through the words, rather than the snatched sentences I manage in between other moments.
How can we ‘cocoon our practice’?
I have an artist friend that I admire greatly for many reasons, one of which is her deep commitment to her painting as a first priority every day. This is a mindset, a true expression of the value we attribute to our own art making. Nothing gets in the way of her practice to paint first. She declines just about every invitation or obligation that would take her away from her painting.
I admire this.
I struggle with this.
But I think this is what cocooning may be about.
We value what we create first and most, before all our other endeavours.
We honour our work and the time we give to it.
We defend the time we set aside for it, vigorously, without obligation to others, without hesitation. We simply say no.
We protect our space physically, psychologically even. We create buffers that protect us from intrusions, be they the visitor, the ding of social media, the news of the day.
We immerse our whole self in our practice and we emerge full from the experience, and our writing becomes self-perpetuating.
We give ourselves the right to pleasure and recognise our deepest need to do our art as the truest part of our selves.
And at the heart of cocooning our practice is the deepest held belief that art is worth it.
Writing is worth it.
We are worth it.
Cocooning your practice is a form of fierce love, for the self, for the soul and for all that is created from that space.
I’m working on it.