I sometimes think that I navigate the world with my stomach and my nose, instead of my eyes and ears.
Case in point: thanks to the ubiquitous Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries, I wandered around the hotel last week thinking everyone smelled like freshly-scrubbed ducklings rescued from an oil spill, and washed clean in lemon Joy. I followed the scent of java across four lanes of traffic and a massive parking lot to find the Caribou Coffee nearby.
I appreciate all the good wishes I received for the trip, both here and on Twitter and Facebook. It went really well. I was nervous. When I used to travel for work, I was really bad about self-care. That ranged from not getting enough sleep, to being way too indulgent when it came to eating and drinking, to being hypercritical of myself (probably because I was so grumpy from being tired and stuffed and ever-so-slightly hung over).
At the beginning of last week, I committed to going through The Artists Way. Before you start, you sign a contract with yourself that you’ll commit to “excellent self-care” because the exercises can bring up some heavy, toxic stuff (which you can then address and hopefully unload). So I had an extra bonus layer of motivation for taking better care of myself on the road.
There are a lot of really nice people working in social media professionally. There are also some real turds out there. It’s like any other career field; for a large percentage of the American population, high school never ends. You still have cliques. You still have mean girls and jerks and loners and freaks and geeks. I got to meet some delightful people. I also met some people who I need to hold at a loving distance. 🙂 Loving, because if I let them suck me into their drama, I’d likely choke the snot out of them.
One thing I appreciated about my old job at Makespace was how literally it allowed me to make more space in my personal life and mental hard drive. Socializing and being around people is mentally depleting for me. They let me be “the woman behind the curtain” to a huge degree, limiting my client interaction and letting me focus on just doing the work. When I needed that, I really needed that.
Now, at Social Media Explorer, I’m still behind the scenes a lot. But community management and event planning means that some of the time, I’m socializing either virtually or in physical space, with a lot more people. So I’m having to adjust how I manage my energy. I’m switching from doing a few different kinds of tasks for a large number of businesses, to doing a much wider variety of tasks for one business. It’s been pretty interesting to see how that changes my motivation and productivity. There’s probably a useful post just about that I could write.
So I’m pretty much batting 90% on doing my Morning Pages for the first week of The Artist’s Way, which is pretty good considering there was a 4-day business trip tucked in there. I missed Quills&Quibbles, which is a bummer, but I did do the writing assignment for August. (I’m still trying to figure out how to work “haberdasher” into a story for September. If you’ve got any ideas, send ’em my way.)
The Artist’s Way is kind of similar to Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, except a lot gentler delivery. It’s two different guides on what is essentially the same landscape of creative recovery.
I guess it just depends on what you need or prefer. If you need the drill instructor from Full Metal Jacket or possibly Gerard Butler from 300 screaming at you to motivate you to keep going, then you probably should go with The War of Art.
If you would prefer Phoebe from Friends, or Dharma’s mom from Dharma and Greg as your guide to creative recovery, The Artist’s Way is probably the better choice for you.
So, how are you doing taking care of yourself? If you were looking for a tour guide to your own creative landscape, who would YOUR ideal fictional escort be? Why?