30-Day Challenge: Daily Pages: Day 1

The struggle is real.

I’m a writing coach and I’ve fallen off the wagon. After a solid 10 years of writing three pages by hand every day, before any other writing, life knocked me out of this sacred habit. The past year has been loaded with big things. Travel, remodeling upstairs, moving the boyfriend into the house, then moving the boyfriend into the roommate zone. Seeing my son off on deployment, embracing a new son-in-law, spending Wednesdays with my grandbaby, and catching up with my other daughter in the cracks between our busy lives. Immersing myself in a new 12-month coaching certification program, growing my business, and showing up to support other creatives and friends in my free time. I feel like I’ve been asleep or on a roller coaster, with no in-betweens.

Blah blah blah; boo hoo. It’s all really good stuff. One heartbreak aside, it’s all really good stuff. Okay, one heartbreak plus one year of missing my son like half my heart was torn out of my chest aside, it’s all really good stuff.

Unfortunately, all that really good stuff derailed my practice of showing up to the page, pen in hand, to spill the beans on myself and explore WTF is up with the thoughts in my head. At first it was just a day here and a day there. Then three or four days. Then a week. Then that creeping sense of hypocrisy that snuck an arm around my shoulder whenever I reminded writers to develop a writing habit and stick with it. Finally, an uncomfortable, untethered feeling about my life, a general lack of focus, and a deep knowing in my soul that I was ignoring some crucial part of my being.

My life is full and sometimes it overflows and writing slides away under the door with the excess. And then I stand around and wonder how the hell to get back to it. Just like you.

It’s Daily Pages month. I’m starting with the same struggle most of my clients and 2LWA members and probably you are dealing with: I’m torn between “I really need to do this” and “how the hell am I going to find time to do this?”

“First thing in the morning, DUH,” I said to myself, forgetting who I was talking to.

On the last day of last month (last night) and armed with a plan, I programmed several alarms on multiple devices, because it takes a clockwork village to get me up. I could barely contain myself; anticipation had set me a-quiver. I laid my head down on the pillow at a reasonable hour and tucked my good intentions in all around me, safe and sound.

Naturally, I overslept.

And then the day and the way it tangled itself up with life and clients and business kept getting away from me.

In the old days, I would have punished myself by postponing the very real pleasure of guiding ink over paper with purpose, and felt very self-righteous about it–as well as deflated, disappointed, and ashamed.

Today, I thanked myself for a good night’s sleep, cleared my desk at 5:15 p.m. and showed up to write. Not for business. Not for a reading. Not for my mentor. For me.

This is kind of a big deal. I have OCD tendencies that insist on pattern. Ten years of writing these pages in the morning usually means I’d better write them in the morning or don’t bother. Instead, I threw pattern to the wind and just did it when I could. And it was wonderful.

I showed up to the Daily Pages for me, and it was like cuddling with an old friend after a year of separation. I wrapped up page three with just enough time to eat before my next call at 6:30–and I was refreshed, re-calibrated, and re-focused.

Do it. Do 30 days of Daily Pages. Do it for you.

You know you want to.

To find out more about the Daily Pages challenge and how it works, check out what others are doing in my writing community, To Live and Write in Alameda.

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