Honouring the call to go slow

Nov 23, 2017 | General | 0 comments

There’s a sign at the dance studio where my daughters do street dance. I like it so much I took a photo a few weeks ago.

This advice has served me well this year. ‘Do it anyway’ has been a bit of a mantra of mine, all through late spring and summer.

Not feeling like going for a run?

Do it anyway.

Feeling nervous about launching those workshops?

Do it anyway.

Not in the mood to write?

Do it anyway.

You get the picture.

It’s become a habit, this ‘doing it anyway’, and one I welcome and trust. It’s helped me, finally, at the grand age of 37, inch towards delayed over instant gratification.

And I’ve seen results. Like with the running, which I’ve talked about before. And with work too. Going to the networking events, despite feeling stay-at-homey, posting consistently on my Facebook Page, going to a weekend retreat in Kent where I knew no-one or nothing about what I was in for… all of these small ways I’ve said yes when ‘not now’ was my first thought, they’ve all paid off. I’ve met new people, got fab new clients, made loads of plans for the Red Tree Writing future, which fill me with excitement.

Yet I’m writing this from bed, about to postpone a live teach in my Facebook Group and not doing the book planning I intended for today. Feeling guilty about not ‘doing it anyway.’

This week I’ve been hit with a kicker of a cold. First it got me in that shivery, fevery, can’t look at light, everything hurts way. Next up was the extreme dehydrating stage; eyes stinging from streaming so much (you can extrapolate to other facial features and how they are affected). And now I’ve got some sort of smoker’s cough that has me doubled up and this headachey pressure behind my eyeballs. Nice.

When does being persistent, being all-in, not-giving-up turn into self-defeating, health-diminishing wearing yourself out? I don’t know. I’m not severely ill. I’m not in hospital. There are the workaholics you hear about scheduling meetings from their operating beds. I’m not one of those. Probably, I could keep going. And I’m not going to miss any deadlines, and as far as possible I’m not going to reschedule any meetings. But this does feel like a call to slow down a little. Have time doing nothing. Drink tea. Read. Sleep.

And I feel guilty about it – find myself questioning my commitment, chiding myself for not keeping going. But. Ugh. Brain is fog. Everything is effort. And even the cat has got in on the act, blocking my access to the keyboard. 

When you’re self-employed it can be hard to call time each day. Often the first thing I do when I wake is work-related. And then more in the evening. I’m far from alone in that, I know. And I actually enjoy my work, so it doesn’t feel like a chore, not like the constant merry-go-round of worry I got myself into at my old job. But it’s interesting how difficult I’ve found it to stop. To give my brain permission to blur. To let an hour go without being productive, or at least playing at being productive.

So I thought I’d share that and see if any of you find it difficult too.

And, just in case you’re wondering what I’m doing with this blog at the moment, with the not writing about writing; instead writing about colds and where consistency ends and feeling stretched too thin starts – what’s all that about? It’s not very business-savvy, is it? Does she employ this sort of free-ranging tactic with her blogging clients, you wonder?

Client blogs – no. I don’t ramble on. I write engaging, story-filled and research-driven tight pieces, you’ll be pleased to hear, based on what we agree together. I know I probably should be using all sorts of keywords and sharing writing tips here. But I’ve realised it’s so freeing to be totally me on these posts. To play with my words more. Let you see the unvarnished me.

So if you want writing tips and discussion, come and join us in The Copy Kitchen.

And if you think this is a ramble, you should take a look at my morning pages.


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Gayle Johnson

Gayle Johnson


Gayle is a freelance content writer, writing mentor and facilitator. She is the creator of ‘Wordspill’ and loves helping people use words to connect with themselves and others. Find out how you can work with Gayle and her services


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