Welcome back, Dear Readers - I hope that this week has treated you well so far. And I hope you're ready to have some honest-to-dog fun today, and write something that's entirely for yourself, entirely for the heck of it, with no pressure.
If you're already glancing worriedly at the clock and getting an anxious tightness in the chest that says: 'You don't have time for this!' - that's a sign that you absolutely need to make time for this. The sky will not fall down because you did not spend every second of today scurrying around doing things from your endless list of Things That Someone Needs To Do. Let's be honest now. How much satisfaction or joy does the list offer? Doesn't it seem that no matter how many items you manage to scratch off, the list always remains the same length?
Your life is not the list. Your worth is not dependent on the list. The list is not the boss of you.
You are allowed to take ten minutes for yourself. You are allowed to make fun and joy a part of your day. What kind of a life is it, if even ten short minutes to experience joy is asking too much?
You own the next ten minutes. So set your timer (but don't put it somewhere that you can see it or stress out over it!), pick up your pen or open up your word processing programme, and look at the waiting blank page with anticipation.
Pick a prompt. Any prompt! Or mix two, or three - or, if something else occurs to you, go with that instead. Whatever makes your ten minutes fun.
Remember not to waste your imaginative energy editing or revising what you're writing while you are writing. Hide your words if you need to. Put your palm or a piece of paper over the lines as you write them, or set your font to the same colour as the page so that it's invisible. We don't care about spelling, grammar, awkward phrases, punctuation or typos. They have no power over us!
When you've finished, save your work, close your notebook, and walk away. You don't need to re-read this writing, assess it, fix it. That's not what it's for. It's about joy, not results. No one is demanding to see your work, so leave it alone. Don't read what you've written right now, or even today if you can help it. I mean it. Just leave it alone! Leave it as long as you can - long enough that you might remember it later on with a little blink of surprise and pleasure. When you do read it again, make sure that you do so in a spirit of curiosity and interest, but without expectation. If it turns out to be a deathless piece of prose, that's a bonus - not the goal. And give yourself permission never to re-read this if you don't feel you want to.
"...a glitter of falling water in the sun, and then there was nothing left of her but a small pile of river stones, worn smooth, shining wet."
Happy writing - I wish you joy.