Last week I grabbed my notebook, kissed my honeys goodbye and headed out to meet with a few writerly friends. It’s only the second time we’ve done this and I’m already feeling bolstered by this monthly practice.
Mr. Awesome, though willing and ready to take over the parenting reins, was a bit mystified by the plan.
So…what are you guys going to do?
Write. We are going to sit together at a cafe table and write quietly beside each other.
He may have arched an affectionate eyebrow. I get it, the man’s practical. Why drive to another part of town to do what I could do at home? I have my computer, notebook, coffee and imagination handy right here.
You know what else I have here? Laundry piles. Dishes. Dust bunnies. Adorable people with no volume control. People who don’t see a closed door as a boundary not to cross or knock against. That annoying, echoing voice of judgement and resistance in my head.
Whereas together at the cafe, there is a forcefield of commitment, camaraderie and encouragement around our table. Plus giant scones…that helps too.
There is the relief of writerly talk. The acknowledgement that we are not crazy or alone in hearing aforementioned voices, in the blocks we put up for ourselves, in the real life – real time challenges of scratching out a creative life amidst our motherly ones (say…missing a self imposed deadline due to your child’s head colliding with their friend’s tooth…).
There is the added motivation that we are tying our pursuits to a commitment to others. A commitment that for now at least, is easier to keep than one to ourselves.
It’s like yoga, I could practice at home but it’s not likely I’ll stop half way through to eat a donut or change a diaper if I’m at a studio.
I could go to a cafe alone, but I’ll probably look around, check my phone and eavesdrop for research more than if I’m checked by a group of friends with heads down and pens quickly moving. It’s just the right kind of peer pressure.
I see this ritual as a guidepost keeping us all on track while we aren’t together. Rather than distracting from the actual work, this monthly check in sharpens our resolve to stay on the path.
I throw my thoughts about writing on this blog amidst life and mothering rambles, with the hope of creating that forcefield of encouragement and community around a broader circle. A reassurance, to myself and anyone else fitting these pieces of life together, that we’re in good company. To celebrate the satisfaction of commitment to our projects and ourselves, the joy and frustration of the journey and the friendship that comes from sharing in these together.
There is this image of tormented isolation we attach to our idea of serious creators, but I say call in your tribe and you’re more likely to stay in your strength.
I want to know! What are you working on? Are you flowing along and wanting to shout out your elation to the world? Are you feeling stuck, crunched for time or too exhausted to a lift a pen/camera/paintbrush?
Grab a coffee/tea/giant scone and tell me all about it in the comments!