For the past several weeks, in the "notes" section of my much-worn daily planner was a series of goals with little checkboxes next to them. "Gratitude journal," with seven checkboxes. "Exercise," with six. "50 Kegels," another seven. Initially, I tried to keep my checkboxes to three a week, with the idea that if I kept them for three weeks, they could "graduate" off the list, because you create a habit in 21 days (is that a true thing? It's embedded in my subconscious).
But here's the thing. After about five weeks of this, I totally burned out. I stopped doing everything on the checklist, except maybe the Kegels (I guess if it's a physical habit, it becomes engrained more easily?). That list in tiny print, with those tiny checkboxes, was so oppressive to me. So this week, there are no checkboxes in my planner. And I have been doing almost all the things on my list.
In a similar way, sometimes my "organization" of blogging gets oppressive, too. I have all these features that I like to implement -- what I'm reading, family updates, calling my philosophical rantings "Musings" and scheduling them to Sundays. I like having order to my blog, and I think that implementing some rules often creates more likelihood of actually getting something accomplished. Except when it doesn't. I started getting ideas for posts, but thinking that I should post them because I hadn't kept up with my regular posts for the month, and I needed to do those first. So I ended up writing nothing whatsoever, because the features sounded boring but I had to get through them before I wrote up any of the "fun" ideas percolating in my head. (I'm using a lot of quotation marks in this post. I guess that is the way I convey sarcasm through the written word).
I think we could get into a whole discussion about whether rules suppress creativity or enhance the structure needed to bring it into life. I think it is definitely a delicate balance. And obviously, depressing as it is, when there is a child to take care of, 12 hour shifts to work, a house to clean, a pregnant body to nourish and drag through every single day, creativity is usually what falls by the wayside. Even when I do have time (ahem, no I didn't watch eight episodes of Friends after my shift last night), sometimes I just can't keep to my planned schedule of beneficial activities like a well-oiled machine. Sometimes I do have to sit on my couch, eat popcorn and ice cream, paint my nails, color, and watch a lot of stupid TV. I think I'm getting off topic. But the point is, I try not to make creativity an obligation, because structuring it too much makes me hate it. But when I don't structure it at all, it fades away.
I want to be blogging and writing again, but right now, sticking to my features is going to mean no blogging. I can't commit to those posts (and probably nobody else really cares, but for me it feels like a big deal).
So for the next couple of months, before baby boy makes his appearance, I'm going to write about whatever the heck I feel like writing. Okay? Okay. I think that is going to taste like pregnancy, babies, and postpartum survival, with maybe a little freaking-out-about-my-oldest-child thrown in. The last few months haven't been easy, and while I'm hoping that means I'm getting my postpartum depression out of the way PRE partum, I know it's probably not quite that simple. Writing has always been my survival line, but I push it to the side more often than not, especially when things get crazy. So here's to a little less structure over the next few months, and a lot more writing.