“Visit your work every day, like a patient in hospital.” – Joan MacLeod, Governor-General award-winning playwright, author of The Valley.
I love thinking that my work is waiting for me to show up, eager for my visit. No matter how the work-in-progress is doing, I’d better turn up or I’ll have some explaining to do. But what to do on these short daily visits?
I’m reminded of a girlfriend who adored her ailing and increasingly demanding grandmother. Wisely, she did not try to make the grandmother perfectly happy, because nobody can achieve perfection or joy for other people. Try that, you create emotional chaos and misery. But she loved her grandmother and wanted to make her feel loved.
So, she asked herself, what small thing can I do every single day that will please both Grandmother and myself? And the answer was, spend 10 minutes on a foot massage. And show up. Absolutely every day. It enriched their relationship, and my friend found more and more good segments of time.
In that same way, asking ourselves what we can do every single day, for even 10 minutes, that will advance the work, helps rest our souls and take us step by small step towards our writing goals. Outline, revise, research setting, draw character arcs, noodle on an important paragraph. These relationship-builders make for rich stories and satisfied readers.