Can you relate to that feeling of always doing, doing, doing and not ‘being’? Of filling your day with lots of activity and yet getting to the end of it feeling like you haven’t actually achieved anything or developed yourself in any way? That’s me at the moment and that’s why writing has become an increasingly important part of my life. Let me explain why.
To an outsider, mine might seem like a perfect life. Two little boys dropped off by 9am, one at school and the other at pre-school. But when I return home to the chaos of a house that looks like it’s been raided and spend my day picking up clothes and toys from the floor, washing up, shopping, doing the laundry and matching clean socks all in the knowledge that I will be doing exactly the same thing each morning for the rest of the week, my heart does sink. I often wonder how other ‘stay at home’ parents have time for Pilates and lunch dates in between housework and the afternoon school pickups, tired and grumpy children, clubs and play dates. I save my spare time for writing.
I have come to think of writing as a form of meditation. It has become a precious time when I can ignore the feeling I should be doing something else and focus on just one thing. It’s amazing. After writing for 10 minutes I magically stop thinking about those unmatched pair of socks and bleaching the kitchen sink. And what’s more, I look at the page and feel a real sense of achievement for having created something, something totally unique stemming from my unconscious self.
When you write, you don’t need something specific to write about or have a deep and meaningful idea to expand upon. You can start by picking something really random or turn the radio on and write about the first thing that is mentioned. It’s not necessarily what comes out that’s important but the process of being still, listening to your thoughts and letting your inner voice loose on to the page.
I’m not suggesting that we all rush off and get a job in the creative arts because that’s not practical. For me, just that one hour a day spent writing is enough to get a bit more perspective, and–dare I say it–find more enjoyment in the sock matching. But I do urge you to just try it. Whether it’s at home, on a train, at a bus stop or even at work, use that spare time to write and see what comes out and how you feel afterwards.