While it’s vital to have a regular habit of creating, I’ve been reminded over the past couple of weeks that it’s important that I don’t become too routine about my creative routine.
I write approximately six days a week (and although I usually take Sundays “off”, I almost always do morning pages on Sundays anyway because they’re kind of a compulsion for me).
My typical routine has been to get up, take a shower, walk down the street to get coffee, then come back home and write at my dining room table.
But lately, this habit has begun to feel really mundane to me. Like the habit itself is encroaching on the writing and causing it to feel less fresh.
So I’ve started shaking it up a little.
I’ve written stretched out on the floor on my stomach, propped up on my elbows, notebook spread before me (my cat, intrigued by my unusual writing stance, took this opportunity to jump on my back and give me a kitty massage).
I’ve written sitting on a bench at a nearby park, to the sounds of kids playing around me.
I pulled out my journal and jotted down some images that were coming to me while waiting in the car for my boyfriend to come out of the drugstore.
I’ve gone to the library and savored the intense quiet and the smell of the pages of old books.
I sat cross-legged in the backyard, notebook balanced in my lap, the boughs of trees overhead creating a sheltering dome, writing to the sounds of sparrows, robins and squirrels fighting over the bounty the mulberry tree provides for them.
What has this done for my writing? For me?
It’s reminded me that I am a physical being with a connection to the earth. That a lot of wisdom resides in my body, and that when I sit for long periods of time at a computer, I can get wildly out of touch with that fact. When my posture is rigid, my jaw clenched, I feel very serious. And the writing I’m most connected to does not usually come from a place of “serious.” I can afford to dial back the “serious,” and dial up the play, the curiosity, the sense of discovery.
It’s reminded me of the importance of place in what I am creating. When I wrote in Ohio, in France, in Guatemala, the backdrop of the place had an effect on me, the writer, even if what I was writing had nothing to do with the place I was in at the moment. When I write in the backyard with my butt planted on the ground, I can’t help but feel connected to the rustling of the leaves, the heat of the sun on my skin, and let that sense of place seep into my writing.
It’s reminded me that, sometimes, we need change for the sake of change. For the sheer purpose of not becoming too stagnant. And that, while there is a lot of change in our lives that in not within our control, there is much that is. There were so many choices available to me about where, and how, to approach my daily writing, just within the few blocks from my home.
There are far more possibilities than we think available to us in any given moment. But we tend not to see them.
What have you done to shake up your creative habit? What possibilities might be right in front of you, if you allowed them to reveal themselves?
And: I have two spaces for one-on-one coaching opening up in September. Are you feeling stuck on a project that’s important to you, or having trouble getting started? I may be able to help. Learn more, here.