Sharing desk space with the Christmas fairy

A small miracle occurred this last fortnight since, in between present buying/wrapping/giving/receiving, in between tree decorating, food buying/preparing/eating/clearing-up, a few hospital appointments, Carol Concerts and church services, in between socialising, relation-visiting and charade playing, a new poem emerged. Hallelujah!  There’s even been  a submission or two, some re-drafting, some reading of submissions to And Other Poems, and the idea of a theme for my first full collection is emerging.  Praise the Holy Saints of Poetry.

But, if you’re deep into a creative project, Christmastime, as any out-of-the-ordinary time, can leave you feeling tense and conflicted.  You feel you want to make progress with your writing (in my case) but your usual study space is awash with wrapping paper and the odd splash of fizzy alcohol.  Then there’s the feelings of guilt when you’re not really available for your friends and loved ones.  Sure, you might be physically in the room, but the chances are your mind is elsewhere, planning, plotting, writing and re-writing, editing, organising or deleting.  You find yourself  half-listening to conversations while you’re keeping an eye on the clock and waiting for the first opportunity to head back to your cluttered writing desk.

Sometimes, strangely, I think these conflicted feelings can be good for creativity.  Having less time available can actually increase productivity since you make the most of whatever time is available to you.  And feelings of friction and tension can sometimes unearth a grittier quality of work – don’t ask me to explain the science of this, I just know that I write better when there is something not quite right, something slightly uncomfortable, about my situation.

Even so, I was glad to read this article shared by the Scottish Book Trust on Twitter, ‘How to Fit Writing Time into the Holidays‘.  There’s a lot of commonsense here, not really anything new, but I thought it was helpful to be reminded of the basic rules for increasing productivity.  One thing I wish I could be better at is getting up an hour earlier.  I love the idea of this so much, the thought of being the first awake, working alone in the quiet of the house, knowing the rest of my family are safe in their beds, a hot beverage in my hands, my empty page before me waiting to be filled with work of genius. Sigh.  Andrew, my husband, is hard to beat on the early rising front, although I do, often, wake early, make tea, and read and write in bed, sometimes gaining headway with a piece of writing.  This feels like cheating, though.  I am rather fond of making New Year’s resolutions, so an earlier-rising and sitting down at my desk time is going to be something I’ll strive for, next year.

And that reminds me that this will probably be my final blog of the year (although you never know….) so, let me take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for the rest of the year, and for 2016.


7 thoughts on “Sharing desk space with the Christmas fairy”

  1. Blimey Josie! You ARE the Christmas fairy! Anyway my very best wishes for you and your family for all that is ahead of you. Perhaps we will meet in 2016. I will be thinking of you all. I will also be waiting impatiently to read and digest each new blog and each new poem. Much love, Madeleine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, a LOVELY message to receive, Madeleine. It would be great to meet again in 2016 – I wonder if we will manage it. Stranger things have happened! Meanwhile, love to you and all of your family – Josephine xx


  2. So impressed that you actually managed to write anything – I’m paused, empty, at the hinge of the year… but I loved your comments about discomfort.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andrew, I’m quite amazed I wrote anything! A poem landed in my notebook like a ladybird on a warm day. Yes, the discomfort – it’s something I’ve become more aware of recently. I need to feel like this in a workshop, too, to be able to write anything. If the workshop facilitator makes me feel too comfortable, I end up writing nothing. Lovely to hear from you! – J x


  3. Great blog Josephine – thank you. I am fiercely protective of my hour or so before anyone else wakes and always work better under pressure – be it writing or anything really. Your blog is a timely reminder to move into 2016 with positive thoughts, to wade through the smog of Christmas clutter, and find some space to put down a pen and find a thought. Though I rather like the Christmas fairy 🙂 All the best to you and yours for 2016 – Valerie

    Liked by 1 person

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