January 27, 2009
My writing has always been relegated to leftover bits of time — a few minutes here and there — when I'm not teaching or going to meetings or caring for kids or doing housework or spending time with family members. When my kids were younger, I wrote poetry because it was easy to pull a poem up on the computer screen to work on it when I had a minute or two. Most of my blog posts are written while my kids are at music lessons and I’m sitting in the car, waiting for them. Writing has always been something I’ve done during stolen moments.
The most difficult part of being on sabbatical has been sitting down at my desk and giving myself permission to work on a manuscript without that nagging feeling that I should be doing something else. I have to keep reminding myself, “I’m on sabbatical. I’m SUPPOSED to be writing.”
So I’ve developed some rituals to make space for myself. One thing I’m doing is charting my progress — writing down what I accomplish each day. I’m not counting by words, or pages, or chapters, but simply writing down how much time I spent working on the manuscript. And I’m giving myself an hour in the morning to catch up on emails, eat breakfast, and meditate before I begin.
And then there is my sabbatical scarf — a long, beautiful, crazy scarf made by Blogger Who Loves Cake. After my husband and kids leave for school each morning, I get dressed, put on the scarf, and sit down at my desk. Every time I look down at the lovely lunatic fringe, it reminds me that no, I don't need to do housework, no, I don't need to respond to emails, no, I don't need to make a plan for supper. The scarf is my reminder that yes, I can spend this time writing and NOT TAKE CARE OF EVERYONE ELSE.
It's a wonderful, warm reminder.
ETA: For everyone who has emailed me to ask about the scarf, she does sell them at her Etsy shop. Here is the link.
Posted by jo(e)