After reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield I pondered, because that’s what any good book does—it makes you think. I asked myself: What does it look like when I write? What do I do? How do I do it? Great questions and I’d love to tell you* (taken from Elyse Myers, and thank you!)
Here is a detailed description (light warning) of what it looks like when I write on days when I do not go to work to teach.
Writing on non-school days
Before I get out of bed I do a meditation and a visualization. I pray. Then I lay on the floor (a lot of laying before I even stand up) and do a bunch of abdominal exercises because my core matters for the long haul, to prevent back injuries and to stand up straight in life, literally and metaphorically. Since I’m already on the mat, abs are followed with some some yoga, to keep my muscles bendy—and to be able to wipe my own butt when I’m old. Next, I practically waterboard myself with the bottle of water beside the bed. I read somewhere that humans are like plants but with complex emotions. It’s true, at least for me. So, every morning I get my hit of water. I can now leave the bedroom.
In the kitchen I don’t turn on any lights. It’s usually dark in the morning during the winter season. I turn the music on first. I listen from the blue tooth in the living room. Lately I’ve been listening to a station called Galaxy It’s a streamed radio station from Greece. The music is English but the DJs speak Greek. I don’t recognize some of the music they play. I like that and it’s pretty mellow. I also like that. I pour coffee which is prepared the night before. Still no lights. Sometimes I light incense. I do this frequently but not every single time. I have nice memories of a fellow artist from the early nineties sharing an art studio and always lighting incense to offset the smell of oil paints and turpentine. This aroma always indicates a creative time for me.
Next, I turn on the computer at the kitchen table. I have a password on it which is weird because I live alone. Shrug. The screen is too bright. I journal and write my checklist for the day with a pen in a notebook, like the old days. I write until I’m done—following my own style of morning pages from The Artist’s Way I enjoy my coffee as I go. The light of the space is less dim. I go to the bathroom and shower. I get dressed. Sweats and a cozy sweater. I make sure I’m warm and sit at the table.
I write, either a blog post or I work on our Shepherd and Wolfe series. I only get up to warm my coffee occasionally. I work until I’m done. I usually know I’m done because I get hungry or my mind wanders. The time span depends on a lot how much I put in or how easily the words come out.
My follow up activity is often going back to my journal to draw. The follow-up to my follow-up is to go for a long walk. I mostly do this in silence so I can contemplate what I have written without interruption. The rest of the day is my own.
Although this seems like a lot of stuff, it’s not. And even if it were, it’s worth it for the end goal.
When I was younger I watched a program that highlighted Debbie Allen’s life. Her mornings were wildly organized with meditation, journaling, candle light. I used to think “who the hell starts a day like that?” Apparently I do—now. It makes sense. I didn’t understand it then, when I was younger and much more chaotic.
Writing on school days
The start to the day is basically the same Monday to Friday as it is on non-school days. Meditation and visualization. Prayer. Abs. Yoga. I still ‘waterboard’ myself. I say this partly in jest since it’s actually hard for me to take in that much water but if I don’t I’m behind in water intake. Hydration is important for a million reasons. I shower and dress for my teaching day. In the kitchen I prep coffee with the hood range light on. It’s dim. I make my list and journal until 7:30 when my writing partner Dave Facetimes me. I usually prep breakfast while we meet and eat it too. We meet daily at 7:30 and talk about our books and what we’re working on as well as the business of books. We finish around 8:00. I pack up and walk to work.
I walk home. It’s a nice transition from teaching to walking into my abode. I change out of my teacher clothes. The radio is optional. Sometimes it’s on, sometimes it’s off. Because my teaching job can get noisy I often prefer quiet. I have a blanket nearby because I hate being cold. Yesterday’s post was done while I snuggled in under a very fuzzy, very soft, very warm blanket. Although I have an office to work in I sit on the couch. Comfort first. No beverage. No snack. I just write until I meet a goal or get too hungry to focus on writing.
Evening writing feels more efficient since I will keep myself focused until I reach a goal. It’s after that, that I go socialize, or go for another walk or make art. I don’t have Netflix anymore so my entertainment varies.
My life is pretty peaceful.
A long time ago, what actually feels like a life time ago, I was very sad about not having a traditional family, kids of my own, a husband. However, in the shower (one of my best thinking places) I was pondering my situation and realized that the Creator wants me to have a peaceful life. And so it is. And for this I am grateful.
*Post Script: In a perfect world I’d only do one job. Can you guess which one?
That’s so cool that you have a writing routine. I too do the same, but for me it’s write, exercise, blog. Then I get on with my day. It’s important that I front-load these tasks into my day, because the later it gets, the harder they are to get done. Anyway, thanks for sharing, Angie, especially your final sentence!
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It’s nice to know there are like minded people out there Stuart. Let’s keep on keeping on.