After MONTHS of not writing and barely even reading (missed my Goodreads goal again), I clawed myself out of the rut I somehow found myself stuck in. Well, no, not somehow. There’s always an ebb and flow to the motivation that sparks me to pursue my creative outlets of reading and writing. Blame it on the weather. Blame it on my dissatisfaction with my career. Blame it on a lackluster social and love life. Blame it on the lure of must-see TV and bingeworthy Netflix series. Blame it on falling down the rabbit hole of social media, specifically Instagram. Blame it on lack of discipline. Blame it on procrastination. It can be any one of those things then leads to a domino effect.
When I’m in a slump, I don’t just ignore my books and writing. Everything goes to hell.
I’ve always been a night owl, but I’ve seen the clock strike 2 or 3 am from my couch more times than I care to admit. I’ve even seen the sunrise peak through my blinds. I order delivery (fried chicken, grits, corn bread and pickles from Peaches Hothouse a few blocks away), and buy bags of 50-cent Cheez Doodles several times a week. My water intake is horrible. I don’t exercise, skipping even my morning stretches. I’m in and out of the shower in record time (for me), skipping my weekly or bi-weekly routines of shaving my legs and exfoliating from head to toe. My favorite body butters and oils go untouched, opting instead for the easier-to-apply drugstore lotions that I usually use for my feet. Noticeable new growth appears on my scalp, and my locs appear dry, dull and fuzzy. My eyebrows start to resemble caterpillars. My fingernails remain bare, meanwhile their counterparts on my feet look like I can climb trees as the weeks old polish chips and fades away.
During better days, I end my night with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots on The Tonight Show. Ok, truth moment: I knock out sometime around his second guest. It’s a small victory if I make it all the way through to the musical guest at the end of the show, sometimes replaced with a chef, stand-up comedian or magician. I have a glass of water first thing in the morning with a piece of fruit, get my sweat on with a Shaun T T25 workout, then re-energize with a breakfast smoothie. I exfoliate in the shower twice a week, and rotate which scented lotion, cream, body butter, oil or serum I use on a daily basis, even if I’m working from home. At my monthly hair appointment, I enjoy the sweet smells of the hair oil used to deep condition my butt-length locs before they’re re-twisted into a style that inevitably garners compliments from strangers in the street and subway. That always makes my day!
I occasionally go to the nail salon to clean up my cuticles and get a good foot scrub, but more often than not, it’s mani-pedi the home edition. Sundays are reserved for self care, which includes healthy meal prep for the week. After soaking and scrubbing my feet in hot water with white vinegar and Listerine (trust me, it works), I agonize over which of my dozens of nail polish colors to choose. Fingers and toes usually match, but I also like to paint the ring finger of each hand a different color from the other eight as an element of surprise. By Wednesday, the polish on at least two or three fingers are chipped (quelle horreur!) so I remove the old polish and repaint them (the same colors so it looks like my manicure has survived the week) as I watch DVR’d episodes of Access Hollywood of Wendy Williams in the evening. It goes without saying that I read daily and write in my journal several times a week. My blog…well, it always gets the short end of the stick during good or bad times.
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, just promises to myself to keep chasing my dreams and achieving goals. I applaud people who say “new year, new me” if they truly are trying to improve themselves by breaking bad habits and whatnot, but with the new year I told myself I had to get back to the old me, the better me. The me who cares and takes care of herself. The me who reads and writes. I caught up on my neglected Q&A a Day journal (one of the best gifts ever!), but I had yet to sit down and write in my journal journal. The one with blank pages and lines, no prompts. The one where I pour out all my guts, thoughts, and plans.
With mere hours to spare before the workshop was scheduled to begin, I registered for the Friday Write-In at Gotham Writers Workshop. To make sure I’d return (and to get a discount on future classes), I signed up for the three-pack. I’ve done the workshops before and enjoy them. It feels like a safe place. Other than being home, at a concert, or getting engrossed in a good book, being in a classroom is one of my favorite places to be. The Write-In instructor gives a writing prompt, which can be a word of phrase. We’re given fifteen minutes to scribble in our notebooks or type on laptops, then we’re asked to share with the class. There are two fifteen-minute sessions per class. There’s free wine and snacks in between each session. Damn the wine and cheese. I’m happy to get a free pen and notepad before each class. I’m amassing a small collection.
As a challenge to my introverted self and to stroke my ego by hearing some much needed compliments on my writing, I make it a point to volunteer at least once. So, I went to the workshop. And I wrote. And I shared. And it was marvelous.