It’s been a while between posts, but I’ve been relaxing over the holiday season and been lucky enough to take a trip to Thailand for Christmas. I am feeling energised and rested. And, happily, these are all ingredients that help creativity.
It’s not until we stop that we realise the treadmill we’ve been on – work, home, study, family, friends, repeat. And it wasn’t until I slowed the pace right down that I realised just how intense the last couple of years have been. And this is because I hadn’t actually relaxed in a couple of years.
In 2016 I juggled a screenwriting course at AFTRS (the Australian Film, Television and Radio School) with full-time work. I was well out of my comfort zone and rushing to hand in assignments and – gasp – present pitches and a host of other things that filled me with heart-attack-inducing fear. It was exciting, and pushed me to places I didn’t think possible, but relaxing it was not.
Last year I was busy writing around my full-time job. I ploughed through two screenplays and then, on a whim, started another course – this time self-publishing a novel. So, new goals were set, the writing goals spreadsheet was on overdrive and I finished the 2nd Draft of what will be my debut novel.
I gave myself permission to take some time off, complete the Christmas shopping, gather the things I’d need for my holiday and catch up with people for the last time in 2017.
And then the magic really happened – I had nine whole days out of Sydney and it took half of those to slip into holiday mode. At first I ticked off a few sightseeing highlights in Bangkok, and then settled into a slower pace once we hit Khao Lak (north of Phuket). I felt absolutely humbled for the opportunity to see this stunning part of the world and share it with the wonderfully hospitable and ever-smiling locals.
I’ve been in slow-mo ever since. I thought I had relaxation before, but I didn’t. This was on another level – I felt at peace. My biggest worry was whether to take my book and sit by the pool or the beach!
I realise not everyone is as lucky as I am, with the opportunities that I have. And I also am not going to take the experience for granted, I’ll try and stay in the slow-mo lane for quite a while longer. Because, I’ve found a new approach to my writing – one that doesn’t involve feeling bad for having an ‘off’ day. I need more ‘off’ days. Time to chill out, unplug, pick up a book and worry about nothing. Because you have nowhere to be, and nothing to do.
Try it. Go put your toes in the sand, or hike up a mountain, or do anything you can to be in nature. Even if all you can manage is an hour in a city park. Trust me, if you can slow down, and just relax, everything’s going to be all right.
Yours in creativity,