Weekend Morning Pages and schedule keeping are hard, especially in temporary housing with no personal space. But this Monday morning is the best morning I have had since moving out of our house in JP nearly two months ago. While their dad showered I made lunch for the girls and helped get them out the door, then I was showered and dressed and not feeling groggy or sick before eight. Ready to have a productive day planning for the week ahead. I made a cup of tea that I don't desperately need for once and as the skies clear up here in Oxford. The movers come with our stuff on Wednesday morning and I will be moving us in during the rest of the week while the kids are in school. My studio space along with everything else! I am so ready. What are you ready and waiting for? If I were back in Boston I would be preoccupied with waiting for the snow to melt.
After months off this Morning Pages writing is extremely effective at opening up my mind and generating blog topics and content. Getting through a month of daily blog posting for #nanoblopomore would probably be a failure already if I didn't start up Morning Pages in late October. I came up with three rough drafts just this morning for me to expand on later. I love it! This leads me to believe that I should find a way to make Morning Pages work for me year round and not just during the dark and cold winter months. If I want to keep blogging and I do then I need to write more or my mind will just be visual. The visual is obviously super important but adding text to my visual thoughts and journey and being able to express myself with words is pretty important for eventual success.
When I got out of the habit of writing morning pages I moved over to sketching in the morning. Turns out doing a controlled drawing like a mandala early in the morning is a good way to wake up and get my hand eye coordination started. But my thoughts suffered and in turn my blog suffered without my Morning Pages. So I am back to writing then again in the morning. Summer is pretty great for that as we simply have more time and are not so rushed in the morning. So I write then I draw and sometimes I draw then I write. And I avoid email and social media until I am done, often I wait much longer. And my day is set up and started in a positive productive manner.
Mornings are hard. I thought they would get easier when the days started out sunny and warm but so far it is even harder to get to the work and I need to be even more disciplined. I still very much want to sleep in until 7 or later and writing my morning pages snuggled in the cozy warm bed is no longer very appealing. I got out of the habit of writing Morning Pages and I think my blog suffered and I suffered as a result. Now I am working to get back into it and establish a new routine and new location for my morning work. Only to have that all change in two weeks when the girls are both out of school for the summer! My mornings will remain basically the same this summer and in a way be easier since there will be no rush to pack lunches and get dressed in the morning. We will be keeping very busy but not rushing out of the house at 8am kind of busy. I put down some scrap paper on my desk this weekend and started taking notes on it. Really great system. Protects my desk and I always have something to write on. Those rolls of paper from IKEA are going to get a lot more use now! Morning pages, blogging, warm-up sketches before I check my email or get on Facebook.
We came home from our vacation a day early so we would all have more time to recover before school, work, travel and chores take over our lives again. That is one of the advantages of driving. It paid off and I have a plan to take off running in the studio on Monday with no pressure on myself to do anything other than draw in my sketchbook before my core hours start. Then come Monday after getting the girls to school I will be on the clock working. It will be a week of streamlined schedules and hopefully learning how to be more efficient as a family and as an artist. Making time work for me instead of against me.
- Wakeup 6am to beat Charlotte
- Morning Pages + Blog
- Light Breakfast
- School Drop Off*
- Core Hours 10 - 12
- Lunch + Social Media
- Preschool Pickup
- Play or nap
- Alex Pickup
- Girls' Bedtime 8:30
- Read, draw and relax
- Bed by 10pm
Forming good habits and routines and sticking with them is always a challenge when life seems to be pulling you in a million different direction. You tell yourself that the early morning ritual of writing Morning Pages and being productive before the sun rises is for people that don't have a family that includes young children. That your children rise at 5am on a regular basis and you are far to busy to nurture yourself with regular Artist Dates while caring for your family. The same goes for regular dates with your partner the excuses to skip dates and focus on the children exclusively is all too tempting and easy to fall into. The problem with these excuses is that everybody has them and it is a choice to fall for them or push through them. Not everybody is in the trenches of parenthood with small children but everybody is busy and everybody has time constraints. Some periods in life are harder than others so maybe the date nights will be on a smaller scale or at home with the TV off just engaging in conversation and the Artist Dates may just be a walk in the woods or getting a latte in the morning after dropping the kids off at school. But it is important to keep these habits up as best I can and just keep on writing, keep on creating and keep nurturing myself, my artist and my relationship. Take the time to look up at my surroundings and notice the beauty that is all around and how truly lucky I am.
I love when I manage to get a rough draft for my blog from my Morning Pages. I love having ideas laid out for the future to make my life easier when life gets suddenly busy. Because life is always busy. I just cut and paste something that strikes me as possibly blog worthy onto Squarespace and try to add any links or tags on the Chrome Book then pictures and publishing on my phone after some editing. Sometimes it needs a lot of editing and sometimes it needs very little. With Morning Pages and Blogging together I am learning how to be an effective writer and as somebody who has always considered writing a weakness not a strength this makes me proud. The Morning Pages get me writing every day and the daily blogging in November gets me editing and developing what my blog writing is actually about. By writing and posting every day for a month I am learning how I want to let my family into my Art Blog writing without talking about them too much or sharing too much. And what too much means to me. I am learning what kind of a blog I have as I write more and more. I am not quite a mommy blogger but I am not a pure art thinker either. I can't be. I wasn't even before I had kids and I certainly am not now and that is okay.
It is hard to write when I feel like this. Standard time is back and it is dark by 5 pm here in Boston and getting darker earlier every day. Pretty soon it will be pitch black by 4 pm when my older daughter gets home from school. That is going to be hard. I am using my Happy Light every morning while I write my morning pages but I still feel bad. I feel lost in the art world and don't know what to do next. I know that I need to do more than make art but I don't have any clear goals and that is frustrating. I could seek out galleries. But how? According to a friend one local gallery may give me the time of day if I send them a proposal and some images. I should do that. But how? Maybe I should look into some sort of art marketing business class and admit that I am in over my head and that beyond making art and writing about it I don't know what I am doing. I feel better already.
This is a question I ask myself a lot as I get back to writing and blogging. After all I am not a writer I am a visual artist. That is the script that I formed for myself long ago and it can be hard to break out of that mold even when doing so is so obviously the right choice. By nature I am insecure about my words. Rather shy and reserved by nature I prefer to let my art speak for me. But writing my morning pages every morning (except once) these past two months and blogging on a regular basis has been changing me. And changing my art as well. It creates feedback with myself and causes me to consider things that I wouldn't necessarily consider if I wasn't forced to write all the time. Seven hundred and fifty words for my Morning Pages every morning is a lot of page filling. But I do it and stuff comes out and I learn how to write while doing it. Blogging is a lot. Instead of just going on with my busy life with my family and making art whenever I can I am forcing myself to stop and think about what I'm doing, why and what's next. I blog because it is changing me and I like it.