I Miss Having A Flat White

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You know how it is as a writer. Every now and then you have a panic about your writing, whether it’s worth the bother, what to write next. And you need to find a way of answering those questions and calming yourself down.

For me, after my Friday 9.30am Pilates class, I used to go to the local Costa coffee shop, order a flat white, and sit down and journal.

But I can’t do that anymore and my head feels like it is going to explode.

I used to do an exercise that I learned on a Big Magic workshop given by Elizabeth Gilbert. You write yourself a letter from these personalities, which are all within you: Fear, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity. By the time I got to Divinity all the rubbish was out on the page and Divinity would give me incredibly wise answers to my conundrums and dilemmas. I would leave the coffee shop with a spring in my step and a plan that felt doable.

But I can’t do that anymore and my head feels like it is going to explode.

I can’t go anywhere with my journal and write. I haven’t had a coffee with steamy, frothy milk for nearly a month.

I can only journal at the dining room table, in a home I share with my husband. It’s just not the same.

This morning I tried doing the exercise as part of my morning pages, while my husband was still in bed. It didn’t hit the spot in the same way, though the exercise did give me some wisdom.

It said that I had to go out and walk to get my head-space. I’m going to do that soon. Thankfully as part of the lockdown in the UK, we are allowed outside to exercise. I’m also blessed to live in a small town which is surrounded with open parkland and mini-forests.

I can feel the lack of head-space building up. I don’t get time alone at home anymore. A few years ago, my husband was out of work, and the same thing happened. I just want solo time on the sofa with the TV, watch something of my choosing and to be alone with my thoughts. Then, as it feels now, my writing ideas dried up.

I don’t want to have discussions about what should go on the shopping list when I’m itching to sit down and try to write something.

I don’t want to share the TV when I’m having my lunch.

I don’t want to get tetchy with my husband, when really, I am tetchy with myself.

How can we get that “fill the well” time that we creatives need, when you can’t go anywhere and you can’t do anything? How can we protect our mental energy?

The answer is just to do the best we can. I will go for my walk. It will make me feel better.

And one day, whether that is in a few weeks, or a few months, I will truly savour that flat white.

Get — 28 tips to help you slay your creative demons, make time to create and enjoy your creative journey.

Realistic advice on being creative alongside your busy life. . I write novels too. Need romantic escapism? Check out

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