Petit Coucou de Provence

July 12, 2012

Taking a sunset walk across the famous “champs de lavande” in Provence. Photo by Margaret Ko.

un petit coucou – a little hello
un champ – a field
la lavande – lavender
en attendant – in the meantime

“Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have ‘essential’ and ‘long overdue’ meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg.”
― J.K. Rowling

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.” ― Pablo Picasso

Recently, I made a deal with a friend that I would commit to posting to my blog at least once a week, “even if I only had time to upload a photo”.  I’ve got a lot on the go at the moment, so it looks like this is going to be one of those weeks!

The aforementioned agreement constitutes part of our mutual effort to kick our own butts and stay creative by being disciplined about writing/producing/what have you on a regular basis, adhering strictly to our own self-imposed deadlines, even when we “don’t have the time”. Even when we don’t feel like it.  Even if the end result won’t be “perfect”.

It’s that last one that will be the biggest struggle for me, a self-confessed chronic perfectionist.  But I’ve also come to realize that it doesn’t matter how perfect an idea is if it only ever exists in my head. I can (and have) easily spend years mulling over an idea, picking it apart, speculating about the best way to put it into motion… but never actually putting anything down on paper. I think that on some level I feel that if I don’t take any concrete steps towards making that idea a reality, it’s still possible for it to turn out perfectly—and in effect, it does get to stay perfect… in my imagination. But the funny thing is that I always feel so much happier once I’ve actually just gone ahead and accomplished said idea/task/goal, even if the results are not exactly what I had hoped. And even if I’m not totally satisfied, the great thing about producing creative work on an ongoing basis is that there’s always the next project, waiting for me to do better.

So, instead of procrastinating or waiting (sometimes weeks) until I have the time to write something “perfect”, I’m doing my best to put aside my perfectionist tendencies and produce the best post that I can in the time that I have available to do it.  There, I’ve even put it in print publicly, so now I’m doubly committed! I’ll let you know how it goes….

A lot of artists and other creative people have written about the importance of being vigilant about protecting your creative time, and staying disciplined when it comes to producing work regularly. One of my favourite online articles on the subject is Chris Guillebeau’s Rain Running.

Well, there you have it!  A new post with a proper French vocabulary is currently in the works, but en attendant, I’m sending you a little sunset from Provence. My friend Margaret snapped this photo of me as I was walking through the lavender fields near the small town of Valensole. I hope it brings as much of a smile to your face as the intoxicating smell of lavender did to mine that afternoon!


Do you have something on your “To Do” list that you’ve been mulling over for a while, creative or otherwise?  Why not take one small baby step, today, towards accomplishing it.  Pick up a brochure for a language class.  Register the blog you’ve been meaning to start.  Sign up for a race.  Research a trip.  Go through those vacation pictures.  Hang that painting that’s been leaning against the wall for the last four months.  Commit to fifteen minutes sorting out that junk drawer.  Call the locksmith to finally come and fix ­­­that lock.  Stop waiting for the right time to do it and just get it done. Let me know how it goes!

For a little more inspiration on how to stay creative, check out this neat video by Tofu Design.

3 Responses to “Petit Coucou de Provence”

  1. Edna Says:

    What a GORGEOUS photo! The light, the dress…stunning!


  2. Margaret Says:

    That is a nice photo. ;)

    Keep up with the posting, because your posts are worth it.


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