Doing less to create more
I like to be busy and I have always tried to fill my time with interesting projects. As a mother this became even more important to me, I needed more to my day than washing dishes and
wiping dirty bums. This month however I have realised that there comes a point when too many projects dilute the power of everything you do: it was time for me to cut back.
I am doing well with my regular writing habit. Assuming my youngest child doesn’t wake up
early, I get up to work five days a week at 5:30am, but the more I write, the more I realise I need to learn. This is both exciting, as I can see the work I need to do, and intimidating, because the work I need to do is so vast. Lately, I have found that the amount of little projects I am running has prevented me from really committing to improving my writing skills.
On my blog, I was running the Virtual Open Mic Night, Mother Hens – a letter writing project for women, and a weekly link up of support for writing mothers. I was also participating in writing-based link-ups on other blogs, all of which were great fun to do but very time consuming. Trying to keep up with all this was draining my energy and my focus was suffering. I often found my morning sessions eaten into because I needed to do something for one of these projects, so after some time to quietly reflect on my recent trip to London for the launch of the Anthology of
Motherhood by the Emma Press, I decided I needed to cut back.
I found this a difficult decision to make. All the projects felt important in a way, they were all
creative. I realised, however, that creativity needs space and if I want to create more I need to do less. In the end I stripped back everything from my blog except for the Virtual Open Mic Night. I have stopped all link-ups, including my own, and taken down the Mother Hen’s project. After a week I felt the benefit of a clearer calendar. I had more space in my head and more space at my writing desk. Things felt less cluttered and much easier to manage.
I really want to respect my writing time and that involves a lot of learning to say no. So from now on I will be saying no, so I can say yes to the things that really matter.
Stephanie Arsoska lives on the east coast of Scotland with her husband and two children. She originally trained as an actor before gaining a BA Hons in Drama, Applied Theatre and Education from the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She has worked extensively in theatre and education, and trained to be a Drama Teacher in 2005. More recently she gained a post
graduate certificate in Physical Theatre from Royal Holloway University.
Stephanie writes at her own blog Beautiful Misbehaviour where she runs a monthly virtual open mic night for mothers to perform their creative writing without the need of a babysitter. She was featured in Word Bohemia’s first quarterly journal and in February 2014 she will have a poem published by the Emma Press in their Anthology on Motherhood.