I enjoy writing, and words usually come fairly easily for me. (At least, they seem to in comparison to the struggles I’ve heard other people describe for their writing process.) But the last few weeks have felt really dry and flat for me as I sit down each evening to write my blog post.
I know I’ve been stressed and busy with wrapping up the semester, preparing for the holidays, getting as many items up on Etsy as possible for holiday shoppers, finishing the yard work preparations for winter, and attending holiday functions. I know that some of my struggle to find new ideas each night is simply exhaustion. But that’s not all of it.
Shopping for Christmas presents has become ever more challenging as I have gotten older and an increasing number of people on my gift list already have everything that they really want and need. This tends to make the season more stressful than delightful as I struggle to find gifts that are more than just clutter.
This past week, I found several posts that take a look at ways to simplify and declutter Christmas, and there were a number of great ideas within these posts for gifts that will not add to clutter, as well as suggestions for reducing the clutter of Christmas decorations and for what to do with gifts that we receive that just add to our own clutter.
As an introvert, I tend to be more aware of my faults than most. This causes me to spend a lot of time and effort working on trying to find ways to improve myself in attempts to minimize these faults. In fact, efforts at self-improvement are a full-time endeavor for me.
This almost always involves adding things to the list of what I “should” be doing: be kinder, listen more (which means talk less), eat better, exercise more, clean out my closets, be more social, sleep more, read more, have a more positive attitude, keep up with my gratitude journal, meditate more, pray more, step outside my comfort zone more often, and on and on and on. It’s no wonder I get so tired! The list is never-ending.
Adding things to my plate to make myself a better person was the only way I knew how to work on improving myself. Until now. I recently discovered a whole new way to go about this.
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” – Hans Hofmann
I have found myself reflecting more and more about how much excess weight I carry through life. It’s not body fat that’s troubling me (although I do have some of that I could afford to lose too); it’s the weight of too much “stuff” that has increasingly come to feel like a burden. It’s not just a physical burden of things that I have to make space for and take care of, it’s also a mental and emotional weight from the clutter and the responsibility for it all.
I’ve noticed something very interesting in my daily postings of gratitude on Facebook this month. Gratitude is popular!
I generally get a minimum of response to things I post on my personal Facebook timeline and on my Facebook business page. In fact, I’ve slowly posted less and less often on both places because it seems like few people are seeing or reading the things I post there. So I’ve been really surprised at the response that this gratitude practice is getting.
I’ve spent most of my life thinking that I was not a creative person. I thought of creativity as some magical talent that only certain people had. I don’t think that any more.
I am increasingly convinced that all creativity stems from the ability to see life with fresh eyes. And every single one of us can learn to do that, including me. It doesn’t even matter what one’s preferred creative outlet is. It still all comes back to learning to see life with fresh eyes.
I must need to hear a clear message about setting and keeping boundaries around my writing practice because posts on this topic appeared everywhere I looked this week! Three of these showed up in the RSS reader on the same day; the fourth showed up the next day. They don’t all specifically mention boundaries, but each of them are directly or indirectly about the impact of setting appropriate boundaries around our writing practice on our productivity.
Oddly enough, setting boundaries around my writing practice is one area that I find to be easier than most other boundary-setting endeavors, but boundary-setting is one area that I still need to improve in all around, so some of these apply for me in more than just writing situations. I’m getting so much better with this, but I am encouraged to keep up the work after reading these.