I wrote a few words, over Christmas. Not many. But a few still. Between the main festivities and the New Year. A few is better than none wouldn’t you agree? All things considered, I hadn’t expected to; my stomach was way, way beyond full, my head, confused, in an alcoholic lag – too many brandy soaked puddings and mince pies on top of glasses of red, white and fizz. After a week’s hiatus, I felt nervous; I hadn’t spoken to my characters. Would they come out to play, dance for me? They were tired, testy even, a week’s sleep evidently too long. I hoped they remembered their parts; I’d arrived at a crucial moment in their story when I had to lay down the metaphorical pen, soldier my way through the ever-growing to do list for the Yuletide celebration.
There are times when writing seems an impossibility, Christmas being one of them. Both my mother and youngest brother were coming to stay; the house was in need of a serious clean from top to toe, extra beds needed preparing, sheets washing, mountains of food – chocolates, cheeses… simply oodles of stuff – had to be bought. How could I create head space when I had to brave the monstrosity of the supermarket run on the 23 rd December? And what was I thinking, shopping two days before the main event? It took over three valiant hours of wearily trudging up and down aisles stuffed with more people than produce. The overload. The stress. I must give credit to The Three Year Old, she raised her game well above mine, her patience holding me just below the rage line, until the pricing gun crashed half way through the shopping. I will say no more. So what was I supposed to do? Under harried circumstances, I didn’t feel I had any other option. And with much reluctance, I packed their bags, and sent my characters on holiday to the back of my mind. A post card wasn’t received.
When I sat down to write, I was quite taken aback, I had expected to bully my fingers into punching the keyboard – I was nervous after all – but no, the opposite happened, although sated and sleepy and befuddled from so much food and wine, and my characters irritate – lynched from their five-star break – the words flowed. But of course, I was physically relaxed, my head suspiciously emptied of worry. The sentences tumbling out owed more to simply gorging and sitting on my derriere. Yoga. They owed everything to downward dogs and tree poses and back bending, every stretch both calming and quietly firing my imagination.
I used to yoga for many a year. Had a baby. Then stopped. A bit silly really. And it took until a recent holiday in the Canaries, and a rather wonderful lesson there, to remember how utterly releasing yoga can be. Now I am back on the bend, trying to fit in a few poses every day. It’s working miracles on my writing and arm definition – the bingo wings are retreating – and, I’ve realised how important it is to care for myself around my writing. I’ve taken to going on a short walk or yoga before I sit down to write, and although this eats into essential time, I write with so much more freedom and flow with the daily stresses erased from my body. So this is my real commitment to 2014, my writing resolution, to really look after myself physically and spiritually, and the words will surely follow…
How do you look after yourself around your writing?