July 07, 2010

the art of ritual

For the past two weeks, I've been a writing monster. I have churned out pages and I have worked non-stop for hours. It's been a long, long time since I've had such an uber-productive run and I was completely enjoying the flow until yesterday, suddenly, it all stopped. I got not one word on the page. Barely even opened up my laptop except to check Facebook. My agitation was palpable. I was easily irritated, grumpy and tired. I knew my emotions were a result of not being creative but I didn't know what had happened to stop the momentum.

I wanted to know why.

So this morning, I'm taking a look at my ritual. I'm asking myself, "What are the actions I take from the moment I wake up until the moment I sit down to work?"

In the past two weeks, I started my mornings with breakfast then a meditation that calmed me. I also announced out loud to the Universe or whoever else may be listening, my creative intentions for the day such as, "Today, I will write 5,000 new words." or "Today, I will revise the first 30 pages." My mornings were quiet, disconnected and completely focused on creation. There were no phone calls. There was some email checking and Facebook posting but mostly, there was the wonderful nothingness of being. I fed myself and I had a deadline: at 3:30 pm, my fiance would return from his rehearsals and my writing day would end.

So, my effective ritual had been...

Get Up Quietly
Tend the Body -- Clean & Eat
Social Stuff on Computer
Meditation -- Announcing Daily Creative Intention Aloud
Writing Until Imposed Deadline

That had worked.  How did it get stopped yesterday? Yesterday, I woke up and immediately returned a phone call while I was still in bed. I didn't eat or shower first thing. My fiance had the day off so I didn't meditate or announce my intentions and there was no deadline so the day seemed entirely free for my use. How did I use it? Cleaning and piddling about and "computerizing" which is being on a computer with no results to show for it.

Then I got angry at myself for not writing and that turned into aggravation and grumpiness and snapping and the anxiety that comes when you feel like you should be doing something other than what you are doing at that exact moment in time.

Sound familiar?


What is your most effective ritual? Do you have one? Do you need one? Take a moment today to analyze the ways in which you support your creative work. On a good day, what did you do? On a bad day, what did you do? How did they differ? What aspects or actions are helpful to your creative process and which are damaging?

It can be as simple as looking at what you are eating or drinking. Is coffee necessary for your wake up? Does sugar give you a lift and then drop you like a hot potato halfway through the work? Are you hung-over and slow to start? Are you treating your body like an extension of your creativity or is your intellect/talent dragging that body around with you? Can the two learn to work together?

Just take the next few days and pay attention to the way you work. In what ways can your creative process be enhanced, further supported? Do you need noise? Do you need quiet? Do you need more light?

When you spot a problem, fix it. If something works, keep it.

And please, feel free to share your helpful suggestions through the comments section below.

No comments:

Post a Comment