Hello from the Chaos

Tomorrow, I will have been in the #NaNoWriMo trenches for a week.

Already, I’m over 10,000 words into my first novel. While it is simply a first draft(not even at the rough draft stage), I still really like my characters that I developed and the few who showed up. Right now, I have one character in a back office who has yet to open the door and introduce himself or herself. Not sure, yet, but I’m hoping said person will come out soon.

As I plow through my novel, here are a few things I learned this first week.

  1. I waste a lot of time. At first, I looked at my schedule and thought I wouldn’t have enough time. But when I cut down the good things, the distractions, I am always amazed. I have hours to devote to my art, my writing.
  2. Deadlines are not the enemy. For some writers, word counts and deadlines stifle their art. My art thrives under pressure.
  3. Writing brings me joy. Even in the midst of the chaos, writing this novel makes me feel creative joy. It’s not a perfect process, but it is far better to have a work in progress than simply an idea stuck in my head.
How is you art coming this week? How was the first week of #NaNoWriMo?


The Art of Rest

Picture courtesy of Mark Askins

Cool evenings, frost threatening the fading roses and herbs—an autumn evening quietly enfolds me into its darkness. Chores undone. Dishes waiting for their dip, soak, scrub, dry routine, but my arms feel like gelatin. I’m exhausted again. After hours spent tearing into boxes and placing clothes, I can barely carry the weight of my own body. Yet, rest eludes me. I see toys covering the blue carpets and laundry peeking out of the hampers. Every muscle aches from standing on my feet, rushing about working, trying to live out my work as art mantra.

My work is art, but too often , we forget about the art of rest.

I suppose we can see our work as art. We produce some commodity, provide some service. We associate art with an end product. Monet painted his sunsets. Beethoven composed his symphonies. All art, each piece is something tangible , a reward for the artist creating them. Somehow, I picture Monet and Beethoven and Shakespeare scoffing at the thought of resting, sleeping. The art takes full advantage of their energy. Perhaps, they sat up by candle light, moonlight, the waning sun to create their works. When did their hands start hurting? Did they tell themselves to suck up? Or simply plod onward?

As a writer, I work tirelessly on crafting my words just so. Even now, my whole body cries for a bit of rest, but I must write. It is my art, and rest has no part in the production. This blog post must be written. Pages of my books and writing need sorting out—rest takes a secondary place to art. Besides, I can simply sleep when I’m dead, right?

Why do we treat rest like a luxury, not necessity for our art?

Our times of rest are part of our art just as much as our times spent laboring. Our rest is the other half of our productive work. During those quiet moments, we listen. Our muse or the divine may change our art’s course. Perhaps, we shall light upon some new idea. Maybe, we only live half-lives as artists because we are so unrested, so tired all the time. Does our art suffer? I think so. A well-rested mind and body are two tools great artists cannot afford to waste.


Question: How are you practicing the art of rest?