The 30-Day Writing & Publishing Project, Day 8: Finding a Sacred Rhythm

It’s hard to overestimate the importance of habit. Of routine.  . . . So much can be accomplished in one focused hour, especially when that hour is part of a routine, a sacred rhythm that becomes part of your daily life. 

~Dani Shapiro, Still Writing

Since committing to this daily writing & publishing project a week ago, I’ve been trying to find an hour or two early in the day in which to get the writing done. When I started out, I thought I’d get up at 6:00 am every morning and write for 1-2 hours, hit publish, then move on with the rest of my day.

That was the plan.

But what’s happened instead is, I get up at my usual time of 6:30 a.m., do my daily practice, which consists of, first, the making of the coffee, obviously, then meditation, writing in my journal, and some other personal growth practices.

I’m usually at my desk by 8:30 a.m., but I always feel like I must, must, must, knock out the client work first, then I “get to” do the daily writing afterwards. But by 5:00 or 6:00 or 7:00 pm when the work, work is out of the way, I feel creatively spent.

I write and publish to the blog anyway, but it feels like I’m not giving the writing the attention it deserves (after all, this is my craft, the thing I really want to do, do well, and get consistently better at doing). But, alas, the writing has been relegated to second-place position.

In the past, when I’ve gotten up a wee bit earlier than my usual time and written before I begin on the client projects for the day, I feel accomplished, joyous, and inspired, a feeling that carries over into the client work, making me feel more productive, efficient, and overall happier about the landscape of my work days.

This thing Dani Shapiro speaks of, “a routine, a sacred rhythm that becomes part of your daily life,” is something I’ve wanted to establish for my writing for a very long time. But I’ve tried and failed, tried and failed. The writing gets done, but as for time of day it gets done, it’s all over the place. And that makes me twitchy. I long for the calm knowing that every day at X time, I’m going to sit down at my desk and write, and I want that “X” time to be in the early a.m.

So, next week I’m going to try that practice on for size again. Writing first, client work, second. This won’t be easy since I have a big load of client deadlines next week, but hey, I’m gonna give it the old college try! (You know what popped into my head just now, writing that? The quote from Yoda in Star Wars, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”)

Then I remind myself that my current daily routine of meditation and journaling in the a.m. took me a couple of years, I’m ashamed to say, to become habit.  So if I stick with the attempt to write every morning, before the work day starts, I’ll get there eventually.

I’ll share how it goes here on the blog very soon.

Comments

  1. Hi Kimberly, you are doing such a great job at this challenge. I so admire your dedication.

    Your post today reminded me of something I went through a couple of years ago, my own journey with fighting/making new habits. I’m not sure if you’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” but it’s a book that ended up hurting more than helping me. The perfectionist in me has a way of twisting theories into self-harming mantras. The argument Gladwell makes in the book is that in order to be truly great at something, you must develop your craft for 10,000 hours. After reading the book, I become obsessed with tracking the hours I put towards being a better writer. Being a perfectionist, I only counted writing minutes that I put towards specific writing projects. When I wrote in my journal daily, that didn’t count. When I worked on a paper or piece for school or work – that didn’t count. After a while of tracking, I felt burned out and also guilty, feeling as though I had logged as much time as I had wanted. Even though I was writing every day, I felt the writing I was doing didn’t “count.”

    What I realized from this experiment was that I needed to change my attitude not my schedule. My daily ritual of writing in my journal helps my craft, reading a good book and thinking critically about what I’m reading helps my craft, preparing a presentation for my day job and being meticulous about that presentation’s organization – that too helps my craft.

    Because I’m not sure how your journaling, work and writing line up, I can’t guarantee that this long rant was helpful, but I thought I’d share just in case :). Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading your blog post tomorrow.

    • Kimberly says:

      Hi Faith!

      Thanks for reading and commenting again. I’m so grateful for the support! 🙂

      I haven’t read Outliers yet, but I’ve heard all about the 10,000 hour rule — many times. And oh my goodness, I’m right there with ya when it comes to being hyper-vigilant about “tracking” time spent writing, as I do that too. Or used to — I’m trying to get away from all the obsessive tracking now. My habit was very similar to yours — writing in my journal didn’t “count,” towards my daily writing goals, and writing website and other marketing copy for my clients didn’t “count” either. Which I now see as crazy, just plain loony. Writing is writing is writing, and it all adds up to getting better at the craft.

      It helps to know that other people have tracked the same way I did, so I’m grateful you shared that. I don’t feel nuts, ha ha. And you’re right, journaling and reading and prepping for a presentation — it all helps our craft as writers. Thanks so much for your insights, Faith, I really appreciate the writerly love. 😉

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