Sunday, October 9, 2011

Writing early

Last Friday I listened to the first lesson in Dr. Eric Maisel's new class, Your Best Life in the Arts. I keep taking classes from Eric because he's one of the wisest creativity coaches I know and he keeps honing his thinking and coming up with new ideas so there's always more to learn.

I knew it was going to be an overview of the next 3 months but I hadn't expected him to put out his big gun right away. Point #1: Get up and write/paint/sculpt/draw/compose music/dance/sing for the first hour of the day.

This was not new information to me. I'd heard Eric say it before in each class. I'd also heard his explanations as to why it was a good idea. First, you take full advantage of the liminal space between sleeping and waking. While we sleep, we have good access to other parts of our brains, the subconscious, the unconscious, the imagination, and that can be helpful in the creative process. As we wake up and start the day, that connection fades, the way dreams do. Second, if you create for an hour each morning, you've created that day. When we do other things first, creating becomes a Maybe Later and most of the time a No. We just get too busy. But if you create for an hour each morning, you've kept your word, fulfilled on your commitment, made creating a priority.

So Saturday morning, I set the alarm for 6. I got up, brushed my teeth, put in my contact lenses, fed the cats, and sat down to write. The apartment was dark except for two candles and my computer screen. It became a sacred experience, a kind of physical cocoon where I moved into the story. I am using my laptop in the dining room. I've got no wifi so there's no temptation and I didn't turn on the desktop work computer until the hour had gone by. I didn't write particularly furiously or particularly much, but I wrote with more ease and focus.

This morning I got up at 6 again and wrote for another hour. It felt holy again. And I felt happier all day and more connected to my characters. I'm committed to doing this all week, so I'll keep you posted. If nothing else, I will have put in 7 more hours of writing this week  than I might have otherwise. 

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