Every Day Is Special

by Rachael on February 10, 2011

Thursdays at The Variegated Life: on the creative life and shipping the goodies …

Last week I said that I would write every day for a week and then report on the experience. Well, I did not write every day last week, but nevertheless I am reporting on the experience, which was mostly whah, whah, whah!!! (That’s the sound of me feeling sorry for myself.)

When I’m not feeling sorry for myself, I’m reminding myself why I took up this experiment in the spirit of playful self-discipline: one (er, I) must have permission to fail. As Michelle (of The Parent Vortex) puts it:

Another important aspect of playfulness that I want to adopt is the freedom to experiment and improvise without feeling like I have to be perfect the first time. I’m looking for incremental achievements, and I’m willing to embrace my mistakes.

What does Michelle mean by “embracing mistakes”? For one thing, she writes, mistakes are opportunities for growth and discovery. Much as I hate making mistakes, I agree 100%.

So, what did I discover?

Every day is special.
The routine I described in my post last week? It just doesn’t happen every night. Tuesday nights I teach my online writing class. Every other Wednesday night I go to a writing workshop. One night each week (usually Thursdays, though this week it was Monday) Beckett works at his studio and the Critter and I are on our own (usually) through his bedtime. And other events disrupt our usual evening routine. On Sunday I was sick and just went to bed right after dinner. Tonight I’ll be going to my temple for a meeting. Tomorrow night we’re all going to Williamsburg for openings at a few art galleries. So though I certainly am committed to my evening zazen-and-writing routine, I need to find a variation that works on the days when it’s just not possible to follow it as usual.

Our daily routine matters.
As long as I’m going to be doing my writing in the evening, much of what I do each day serves to set me up for that time at my desk. When I’m following our daily routine, I’m able to take care of whatever needs taking care of, so that when it gets to be time to write, that’s all I have to take care of. Last Thursday, not following our usual routine (and with a sick child, too!) resulted in my not writing that evening. On Friday, we stuck to the routine from the moment I got up, and that evening I had no problem sitting down at my desk to write.

Anticipation matters.
Though I’ll be going to a meeting tonight and won’t be home until 10:00 or so, I trust that I’m going to write tonight, because I decided yesterday that I will write when I get home. Having made that decision yesterday, I’ve been working to take care of everything else that needs to be done today, so that when I get home tonight, I have nothing left to do but write and go to bed.

There’s even more … but I need to reflect on it some more before I share it here. I do want to share a question that I discovered, though. In a comment on last week’s post, Hillary wrote: “Right now I’m working every day and trying to keep a balance of work that produces, work that keeps me organized and work around the interwebs.” Immediately I thought, I want that kind of balance! How can I get that? Because I seem to go through phases in which I’m mostly getting my stuff organized but not getting much done or in which I’m getting stuff done while things go to hell all around me. How can I do both?

OK: onward and onward!

Next Thursday: on keeping a journal.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle @ The Parent Vortex February 11, 2011 at 9:04 PM

Routine is a big part of what makes life work for me as I am at home with two little kids full time. Both my daily and weekly routine make sure that things are set up so that we have what we need and the things that need to get done will get done.

As an added bonus, some of those routines make me feel all cosy and secure. I bake bread on Mondays. My mother baked bread on Mondays. Now Bea asks on Sunday night if we’re going to bake tomorrow. Having the week’s bread stacked up on the counter makes me feel like I can handle whatever comes up in the days to come, because at least we can eat toast and make sandwiches. A little thing, but it makes a big difference.

My past week was full of wah wah too. :) Here’s to a better week ahead.

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Rachael February 16, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Alas for the illness—but that better week has got to come sometime, eh? In the meantime, routines have been helpful. Plus, I’m beginning to see just how long (er, short) my daily to-do lists ought to be.

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Liz February 12, 2011 at 12:37 AM

Would it be possible to maybe tell a pretty little lie and say blogging is your writing for every day?

Right now, I’m trying to make a schedule for reading: blogs, a book, other writings, the new, but old Brain Child. Yeah, I should really get on that. Hell was paved with good intentions, no?
Liz recently posted… Why The Julie Project Should Haunt You

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Rachael February 16, 2011 at 11:14 AM

I wish I could “count” the blogging. It’s certainly writing, but it uses a totally different part of my brain than the associative, playful, feel-it-in-the-gut kind of writing that makes my poems.

Best wishes with the schedule for reading!

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Theresa February 16, 2011 at 7:58 PM

This was a timely post for me. I was reviewing my New Year’s Resolutions and thinking about how some of them needed to change to fit my lifestyle as I haven’t been able to implement them all. I enjoy how playful you are about the goals you have set and the reality of everyday life with children and responsibilities.

I am inspired to reassess my goals and make them fit into the daily fluctuations of our family life. Thanks!

Theresa
Theresa recently posted… Lovers Rejoice!

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Rachael February 18, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Best wishes with your goals, Theresa!

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