Friday, October 14, 2011

Early morning writing II

Today I completed my first week of early morning writing. It would have been easy to bag it today. I've come down with a cold and don't feel very good. And I did sleep in a little, writing from 6:45 to 7:45 instead of instead of 6 to 7 as I have the other mornings. But it also seemed really important to continue to build momentum by writing first thing, to continue to tell myself that writing and creating are a priority for me and to demonstrate that by making it happen.

Surprisingly, it felt natural to get up and just do my quick morning routine and sit down. I forgot about the tickle in my throat and the irritation in my chest and wrote about Frankie and her sister. It was like I showed up to visit them and it was important to do so.

Several things are coming out of this new practice. First, I did 7 more hours of writing on my novel than I would have otherwise. This has been a busy week of appointments and paid projects and teaching and then not feeling well. I would not have found other single hours or a block of time to write during my days (including the weekend because I did paid projects last Saturday and Sunday) and three nights I taught and the others I was too tired, too worded-out. Editing all day on other people's writing makes it hard to want to write on my own. And I'm not a night person; I get no creative second wind in the evening. So I drafted about 3500 words on the novel that would not have happened otherwise.

Second, I feel in integrity with my intentions. I am committed to being a writer and writers are people who write. Not only did I keep my commitment to do the 7 days but I stepped more fully into my writer self, something on my list of Creative Intentions for 2011.

Third, I've been happier each day. Not only happy about having written, but just lighter, more joyful, more satisfied. This is a big plus.

So I'm committing to doing this for the rest of the Maisel workshop, which goes until January 2. If any of you have decided to try this, let me know what your expereince is like.

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.