Day 1: Timing Your Creative Work

Note: A group of people are joining me in 30 days of getting back to our creative core by deep journaling and some form of meditation. Choosing to do deep, creative work.  Today’s blog is about timing–an important part of getting your creative work done.

Ancient books. Source: Haerr Trippin'

If you want to join us, leave your blog or website in the comments, and check out the people who are in the Blogroll–they are all explorers on the 30-Day journey. They may not post about it every day, but they are your tribe, now, too. Stop by and encourage them.

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Let’s be honest–the journey we’ve started is work. And it’s work that no one else will do for you. Digging into your creative nooks and cranny requires patient, repetitive work, which is one reason I’m doing this for 30 days instead of 10.

The question I got most often was “When should I walk, and when should I write?” Walking meditation is a personal thing. I’ve tried walking at noon, and I hate the flat light. I tried walking late in the afternoon and I fill with despair. Cold or not, the biggest effect for me is to walk right before dawn and into sunrise. Dawn was 4:30 a.m. in summer and 7:22 a.m. this morning. I have to adjust.

When do you do your journaling?” When I did Morning Pages, I did do it first

Escribano, via illuminated-manuscripts

thing in the morning. And it worked. But what I’m doing now is completely different–I’m exploring my actions and accompanying emotions in hopes of developing ideas, solving problems, and listening to a spiritual echo in my life.

One of the problems I have is getting to bed on time. I’m a night person, so working at night is filled with energy. But coaching hours are early, and if I’m teaching, it’s up at 5:30 a.m., and the night-person/early riser combination is an energy drain.

My solution? Doing my writing at night, as a step in getting ready for bed. Advantages? Lots. Writing down actions/emotions helps me let go of things that didn’t go well during the day. It helps me explore my reactions and options. So I let go of guilt as I write, and replace it with positive action. I also explore creative problems, and doing it right before bed helps me dream up solutions, quite literally.
It’s the trifecta of bedtime ritual:

  • let go of guilt and worry
  • write down some actions for the next day
  • get ready to dream

When I head off to bed, I’m not rehearsing failure or churning problems. Sounds  useful. I’ll report back.

If you have something you’ve discovered, an idea you’ve had, or a tip to keep doing the work,  leave it as a comment.

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26 thoughts on “Day 1: Timing Your Creative Work

  1. Quinn, my Plan B, if the weather interrupts (which, as you know, we are just not used to that here in Phoenix), is to walk in the rain if it’s not too cold. Yesterday, it was too cold and gloomy outside. Today, it was brighter, and the rain wasn’t as heavy. So I walked. If no walking outside, I can always walk in place, use my yoga mat and meditate there. I don’t have a spinning bike, or I’d use that. I think the movement can come anyway you can make it happen. I’d walk up and down the stairwell if I thought that might work. I’m pretty good about creating a Plan B if I feel the need to have one. Yesterday, I did not. Any ideas or inspiration now?

  2. First day of summer holidays for the kids, schedules need to be adjusted. Still I got my writing and walking in. 🙂 I almost cried after the first block in an “I´m REALLY doing this” way. It was surprising how powerful the feeling was.

    • Welcome to summer in the Southern Hemisphere! That feeling of being in a tribe that’s with you is hugely powerful, isn’t it? We are doing this together. Your advent calendar is a reminder that Christmas can come in the summer, too.

  3. I walked, I left my camera home, and just walked. And thoughts came pouring out. That was a good start.
    I started writing, but was interrupted. No reasons to do the writing all in one sitting, is there?

    And I finally figured out my word for the coming year. It has lots of different meanings for me. It is WEAVE.

    • I’m not really the very directive type. I know people sometimes want that in my class. Lucky for me, this isn’t a class. I think you have to try out writing patterns till you find one that works for you, then stick with it. I used to write mornings, now I’m trying evenings. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try after I eat lunch. These 30 days are about figuring out what form of deep work truly does work for you and then dedicating yourself to that. “Weave” is perfect.

  4. I agree with you, Quinn. I like to write it down, figure out how I feel about whatever it is, and then have down with it, Let It Go. “Stop looking at the past. You don’t live there anymore.
    I also like your phrase, “Let Id Go” – unless you simply had a typo:-) Too funny.
    I am going to appropriate Kelly’s phrase, “Write Myself Whole”. I may also transmute it into “Write Myself Home”.
    All thanks to you, Quinn!

  5. I definitely have to journal first thing in the morning. I like to let go of stuff then, so I can get started on my day. Today, I could not walk or ride my bike, however, because of the weather. So I settled for writing only. I chose a brand new journal to record the experience. When I blogged about it afterward, serendipity took over. I let a photograph lead me to what I’d write about. Even though I didn’t get the movement meditation in, the writing meditation did the trick. It feels like a good start. Thanks for pulling this experience together, Quinn.

    • Actually, the group is doing a great job of keeping us all company. I used to write in the morning, but then walking and writing in the morning got too morning-heavy. Do you have a Plan B for weather? I was astonished to discover I don’t.

  6. I don’t have a regular wake-up time, or go to bed time. I love that about my life right now and have consciously arranged to have a life style that supports this un-schedule.

    I still have rituals, they are just not tied to a clock.

    I take my daily prescription pill and use the one hour that I have to wait before I can eat, to drink water or green tea and write. I love the sleepy writing that comes out before I time to censor it.

    I don’t write in anything fancy; my only requirement is that the pen flows easily. I found a gel pen that releases it juiciness pretty well and am using that for now.

    • Hmmmm, maybe I should talk about equipment on one day. “Consciously arranging to have a life that supports unschedule” sounds both lovely and challenging. I think if I had to schedule I would go to mischief! But your writing time sounds perfect.

  7. thank you Quinn, for turning a simple idea around so that it fits the here and now. I can get caught up in “shoulds” and lose track of what my real goal was to begin with. I am at point in my journey where there are many twists and uncertainties; the path ahead is not clear. I want to use this time to explore options and possibilities. Your post cleared a few cobwebs from my thinking and reminded me that I can journal WHENEVER it suits my schedule instead of focusing on the frustration of being unable to meet an arbitrary schedule.

    • Yes, you can journal whenever you want. We sometimes get trapped in someone else’s rules. Do keep your heart certain that you want to journal ever day. It’s as important as eating, because you are feeding your soul.

  8. I get up every day and take my dogs out for a walk, usually around 6am now, 5 in the summer, so yes, I am a morning person so it isn’t as hard for me as it would be for a night person. Even though I have the dogs, I ususally reflect about what lays heavy on my mind and try to get rid of it before my day begins. I have chosen the word “let it go” for my word of the year and I am trying to remind myself about that word daily. I usually have the issue of needing to “let things go” so I think this word will be good for me next year. I recently read something on a blog (can’t remember where I saw it) about trusting that the universe has you where you are supposed to be and that is kind of freeing and helps me let go of the thoughts that repeat in my head (and drive me crazy). Please add me to your blogroll: cindyolson.blogspot.com Make it a great day!

    • I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about “let id go,” and it feels like the right word for me,too, for many reasons. Your morning walk sounds like it brings in a lot of peace. Some things we can control, some not. It’s smart to control what we *need* to control and not fret about what we cannot. But that is a lifetime of work. Thanks for being here. Come back and post what you have learned. It’s what keeps us all going.

  9. I like writing in the morning, but only when I can stay at home and not rush out/go to work. Otherwise I am too tired and don’t get up until I have to. I miss evening writing, and this post reminded me that I used to do it for years and years but now I tend to think “morning pages” is the way to do it. How strange!

  10. I used an anonymous blog with a throw away email address for nearly 6 months to sort out my thoughts and feelings on a continuing problem I had; it was not of my own making, and involved people I did not know who use violence and intimidation as a way of life and expect it to work. I would write about it at night and found it very cathartic. I was brutally honest; I had to be factual too, as I also hid files on that blog and gave the password to a friend as an insurance policy should anything happen to me. It freed me from the day’s angst and I was able to sleep, feeling cleansed of the dirt around me: it was locked in that blog. It also gave me the courage to get up the next day and face whatever was headed in my direction, since the police were unable to offer any protection.
    Whether we use a blog or a written journal, I feel the key has to be honesty if we want to heal and renew ourselves. This is deeply personal stuff, and hard to get down on paper to start with, but so well worth staying with it.
    I cannot walk out in the early morning or at night, its still too dangerous, but I do try and use my (almost) daily walk up to the shops as a form of meditation, paying attention to the beauty I find in gardens I pass; the new growth, the flowers coming into bloom, the fragile fern that somehow thrives on neglect in the dust, and the hope that natures shows us is there if we want to see it. Life really is good; sometimes we get it wrong through overwork, making not so good decisions and allowing life to take charge of us instead of the other way around, and sometimes it comes from forces beyond our control, but tools like deep journaling and meditative walking can help us put things in perspective and get ourselves back on track. And it can be a life saver on so many levels, by reducing stress, blood pressure, by keeping things in perspective and restoring a sense of wonder and delight in the simple things that keep us centred and balanced and make life so worthwhile. That is a goal worth striving for.

  11. A tip for writing. Have a set of colours for witing. My favourite is Staedler triplus fineliner 0.3mm. I have a pack with 10 colours, and see which colour my hand is drawn to use. Its really interesting to look back at your colours, as well as your words

    • That’s a great idea. I have a set of Triplus, too, and love the way they write. I even have a wonderful holder for them–the holder looks like a fat pen, but the “refill” is a Triplus, and it’s comfortable to hold and write with. Thanks!

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