Hello, and welcome back to Pick & Mix, the low pressure, low stress creativity kickstart designed to help writers reconnect with their joy.
The world is on fire right now, and every time we think that they've started to get the blaze under control - it flares up again, worse, somewhere else. It is tough to feel creative or joyful under these circumstances, especially if you also have pressures in your own life (which most of us do, since we're human). Just for example, I've got surgery coming up for myself, some really worrying health issues in the family member that I care for, and upgrade approaching like the road runner in a cloud of thundering dust. Sometimes even wanting to feel joyful is enough to make me sink in guilt. "I've got so much to do!" I wail. "There's so much happening! I can't be selfish right now!"
Here's the thing: no one else's situation was ever actually improved by you feeling intensely miserable about it. However your situation will always be improved by allowing yourself to experience joy.
I know. What a revelation.
So the more you are now worrying that you just can't make the time, the more likely that you need to take ten minutes for yourself urgently. And I promise you, you won't regret taking part.
So! What are the rules? There are only four, and you can break 'em if you want - I'm not your mum - but it's more fun if you play along.
The First! Use any mixture of the prompts that you like. One, two, all three - even none, if something else occurs to you.
Write for ten minutes. No more, no less. If you're the type who anxiously watches the clock or checks her watch, set a timer and put it out of sight so it won't bother you.
Don't edit while you are writing. Is worrying about typos joyful? I don't think so. If writing longhand, put a piece of paper over the lines as you scribble. If writing onscreen, set the font to the same colour as the page so that it's invisible.
Once your ten minutes are up, walk away still buzzing. Don't read what you've written straight away. Leave it long enough that you might remember it with a little smile surprise and pleasure later on, and go back to it in a spirit of happy interest. You don't need to judge it, evaluate it for it's worth and try to 'fix' it. It was just for fun!
Got it? Good! Now, ready, steady... PROMPT!
"Laura stretch’d her gleaming neck
Like a rush-imbedded swan,
Like a lily from the beck,
Like a moonlit poplar branch,
Like a vessel at the launch
When its last restraint is gone."
Happy writing - I wish you joy.