I was on my approximately 3rd day wearing the same sweatpants and tank top when I realized I hadn't written in my planner or journal in a week and a half. Now, to most people, this thought would enter their mind and then pass without much other thought. So I fell behind on my journal. That's ok, right?
No, it's actually not ok. At least for me.
I have a memory that is simultaneously awesome and awful. I can remember the most minute trivia, but ask me what I did yesterday and I'll probably blank. If I don't write down every detail of Forrest's day (how much he ate, when, if he had poopy diapers), I won't really remember it... but I can remember which onesies he wore and in what order. If I don't write down Forrest's big milestones at the end of the day, I won't remember. I'll remember that it happened--but when and why and the context will slowly fade into oblivion. And yet I can remember the names of every contestant on Flavor of Love from 8 years ago. Thanks, brain!
Even at my busiest, I have always kept some kind of written record of my life: notes jotted down in my journal, a list of things I'm grateful for, a writing notebook with every book I'd read for three years, a checklist of my homework I'd completed. Some people leave behind art; I intend to leave behind a meticulous detailing of my life.
In the past few weeks, I've been using a Happy Planner to jot down notes of my day. I also decorate each week, so I get two creative exercises in one. But ever since I went into the hospital for preeclampsia, I've fallen behind. I've filled in maybe four days in the past three weeks and that's just barely. I haven't written in my journal or gotten any work done on NaNoWriMo.
Being creative is incredibly important to me. My journals and planners are one way I stay creative even when I don't have the time, or emotional capacity, to create anything else.
So when I neglect my journaling for a week... and then a week and a half... and suddenly I have about four weeks to write about... it becomes daunting. I know I'll never be able to cover everything I wanted to in those weeks. I already don't remember the details.
I've devised a little plan to help myself stay creative. Here it is:
- Make time for it. My number one problem, really, is that when I get Forrest to nap, I either 1) sleep or 2) mindlessly browse the Internet or my phone. While sleeping is a great idea, mindlessly scrolling through my phone is not so much. When Forrest naps, if I can go without a nap, I need to spend time working on things that keep my creative brain active.
- Do NaNoWriMo. I have gone back and forth in the last few weeks about competing in NaNoWriMo this year. I was 100% set on it until I had Forrest--and realized just how sleep deprived I would become. However, I think I've gotten back to be 100% for it. Why? Because I know, more than anything, that NaNoWriMo will keep me motivated to write at least a little bit everyday. It can't hurt, right? (And I'm awake at 3am everyday anyway.)
- Ask for help. Have I mentioned how terrible I am at asking other people to help me? I tend to get really intense about things and forget that other people are available to help me. If that means asking my mom to come over so I nap or catch up, or asking Danny to watch Forrest while I write, I need to remember to do it.
How do you keep creativity alive when you're super busy?