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Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

A Writing Habit Needs Mental Space

I’ve been writing an essay every day since December 20th, 2021. When I wrote this essay, it was number 136. This morning I wrote essay number 291.

I started this writing endeavor by giving myself a challenge of writing 100 essays in 100 days. I nimbly paired that challenge with the challenge to make no new changes in my business (I’m an art therapist who runs a therapy private practice). That turned out to be a stroke of genius. It provided a container where the only things on my “to do” list for the day were to write an essay and show up to my therapy practice for my clients. It was a great deal of space for my mind to wander and write about whatever came up that day.

After I hit 100 days, I decided to quietly continue writing. I felt I no longer needed a public goal that I shared with others and would continue to do it for myself.

As I made the transition to my new quiet goal, I let go of my hard container about no changes to my business. In my 100 days of writing, I had accrued quite the list of marketing ideas for my business. I had also been toying with the idea of hiring an assistant.

I decided to move forward with these things, which I knew would be a financial investment. Right about this time, I also had a client unexpectedly conclude therapy. With my increasing amount of expenses and my decreasing income, scarcity mindset kicked in and I began frenetically making a new marketing plan and investing my time in it.

Autistic Art Therapist Jackie Schuld shares an abstract painting of blocks of painting rising from blue up to white.
"Mind Filling With Thoughts" Acrylic Painting by Jackie Schuld

My spare thoughts went to this. Even on my days off, my brain thought of creative solutions to my problem. My brain is great that way - it sees a problem and it wants to solve a problem. The downside is that it can border on obsession where it lets in little else (ah, the joys of being autistic).

It's become increasingly more difficult to write. In fact, I haven’t written in 3 days. This might not sound like a lot, but it’s the longest space that has passed since December 20th. When I sit down to write, my brain tells me all of the other things I could or should be doing. Even while writing this essay, it has reminded me of at least four other things I needed to do that I quickly took care of.

This energy and mental focus shift wouldn’t be such a problem if I enjoyed my life as such. However, I far more enjoyed my day to day life when my mind was solely focused on writing and doing what I do as a therapist.

And yet, I run a business. I have to ensure I have clients coming in the door. Now that I am paying an assistant, I also feel extra pressure to ensure I have the money to pay her as well. My marketing efforts need time and attention. My business needs some of my creativity as I evolve forward.

So, I’m trying a new way of creating mental space. I’m creating containers for the “work” part of my business. I’m committing to only working at pre-planned times on my business. Whenever my mind wanders during the week to business ideas, I remind myself that we have a time set aside for this.

A writing habit needs space. My writing mind needs other things to be contained so it has space to roam.


Post note: I originally wrote this essay at the beginning of May. It is now August and I listened to my mind's desire for more creative space. I utilized my containers, as well as reduced my expenses (I only worked with an assistant for one month). I now feel back in a place of creative mental space.


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