An Hour a Day – Week One

It’s been an interesting a somewhat chaotic week to begin my 100 days, so I am immensely proud of myself for prioritising my daily creative hour.

I won’t bore you with too many details, but my week included:

  • Spending a wonderful annual summer get together with the writing group I joined almost a year ago; 
  • An evening in A&E with my mum who had a fish bone stuck in her throat (she’s fine);
  • A rare delightful day looking after my eight year old grandson for eleven hours;
  • Moving my daughter into a house for a six-week pet sitting job to look after two mad dogs and five, somewhat wild, cats;
  • An evening of phone calls and worry – my daughter made an emergency late evening dash to the vets following a chocolate incident – the dogs will apparently eat anything, including shoes and handbags even if these are placed up out of ‘normal reach’. Lesson learned: they need watching like a hawk!;
  • I also spent a whole afternoon driving my daughter to and from an interview. Why is it that a job can be very local but the employers insist on holding the interview at a more remote and inconvenient location?;
  • Phone calls to the vet and trips pet shop to buy house and pet flea treatment after my daughter discovered that the house and pets had fleas. I helped of course but I ended up being bitten by one of the cats we tried to treat;
  • One trip to the GP for a tetanus jab and a seven-day supply of antibiotics for an infected and swollen hand;
  • And of course five days of work plus all the usual twice-daily dog walking and housework.

Phew!

So all in all it’s been one hell of a week to begin my hour a day of creativity, but in hindsight it’s been my creative activities and focus that have kept me sane. It’s also enabled me to stay calm and level-headed enough to support my poor daughter. Incidentally, she had not one, but two interviews this week and now has a new job.

Anyway, I’m sure you are far more interested in my creative progress than in my private life, but I thought you might like to understand some background context for my first week in this an-hour-a-day experiment.

If you’ve followed me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll know I’ve begun a project to create a textile Phoenix.

I began by trying to sketch images of the bird I could see in my imagination. From my main sketch I created, after some trial and error, a suitable pattern for its body. I chose fabric, cut it out and stitched it up ready for the next stage.

I needed to work out how I would make and attach the wings, so I spent time learning about bird anatomy, drawing bird wings and creating my pattern.

I’ve spent the last two days experimenting with possible methods of producing textile bird feathers and working out my Phoenix colour scheme.

I’m happy with my progress on this project but perhaps what’s more important is what I’m learning about myself in this process.

Each morning, whenever possible, I begin by journaling. I feel lost when I can’t or don’t write, which I find fascinating to try to understand. Most of the time I simply write whatever waffle or ideas come into my head. It’s a great way to clear the brain at the start of the day.

I often worry that anyone reading my notes would think I’m a total loony so I was very relieved to learn that Thomas Edison kept a diary that resembled a real kaleidoscope of seemingly unconnected and random thoughts, ideas and sketches. A glance through Edison’s notebooks is described as like dancing with a tornado … his mind spins all over the place. I’m not suggesting for one nano second, that I’m in the same stratosphere as his genius. I just like to think that if he can keep crazy chaotic notes and scribbles then I can too.

Anyway, I digress.

So what have I learned this week?

  • That using an egg timer for my creative hour really concentrates the mind. I get far more done than when I set the alarm on my mobile phone. I’ll be using my egg timer every day from now on. (Hmm, the thought has just occurred to me to question why is it called an egg timer? Most of these timers can be used for up to an hour but who in their right minds would boil an egg for an hour?). Why the count down? It’s not that I want to stick precisely to an hour, more that I want to ensure I complete an hour minimum.
  • That an hour of playtime each day is a great way to stay sane.
  • That the more I immerse myself in the process, the more ideas come to mind.
  • Even when I have no idea what I’m doing, or how to go about a task, the more I just plough on with it, the more confident I become that I will find a solution. As Marie Forleo’s mum liked to say “Everything is figureoutable!” (as a side note, if you’ve never heard of her, Marie Forleo is awesome and it’s time well spent watching her on-line videos).
  • How much I love losing myself in Concordia’s World. It makes my heart sing.
  • And how much I long to share the magic of the place that’s often trapped in my imagination.

I do hope you enjoy following my progress?

And let me know what makes your heart sing?

Until next week lovely followers

Mary-Ann xx

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