what it's time for is up to you--

Friday, August 2


mise en place:  it's not just for cooking anymore

I have, as have you, read tomes on the importance of ritual, habit, routine, structure, discipline--whatever you call it.  

Julia Cameron's morning pages and Brenda Ueland's If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit are a few of my familiar reminders that a routine of writing generates a body of work and stimulates the creative process.  

Often, Brain Pickings posts on this topic. Its most recent discussion featured  Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey.  His book is a collection of famous routines of writers from interviews, diaries, letters and magazine profiles.  He also writes a blog called Daily Routines.  And another Brain Pickings post on daily routines of famous writers here.

The dilemma here is that we can't simply read about famous people's routines, but we must create our own.  For a long time, I thought this not important.  I saw 'freedom' as flying off into creative realms, with no structure, no set time to sit down.  But, the anti-discipline isn't really freedom at all.  

The structure part was difficult.  Then, one day I was talking to an artist about learning to draw. He said, 'you have to have a good solid idea of what something looks like in your mind before you set pencil to paper.'  It seemed like a simple statement at the time, as I started looking at form and color from the viewpoint of how to capture something in a sketch. It didn't take long to realize that I had been thinking of drawing something without having any concrete idea of what that thing looked like.  I had to follow this structure each and every time I sat down to draw.  

Through drawing lessons and holding tightly to this idea, my shaky drawing ability has slowly improved.  I can adopt this recommendation to add structure to writing and meditating.  Sitting down at a certain time and certain place daily and holding in my mind a clear picture of what I wanted to do can lead to a routine.  Maybe it could even apply to cleaning house.

    “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”  ~ Kurt Vonnegut

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