Rhythms and Routines

Lately I have been thinking about my writing schedule. It can be vague at times, a flexible structure where I can articulate what I’m working on and what I would do if an unexpected period of time suddenly became available. But I’m also aware at the moment that my writing time will be a bit squeezed by work and other demands and it is making me think about how to manage this without losing sight of the importance of creativity in my life.

It is tempting at times to give precedence to other commitments. I have been down that road before, giving work the top priority and letting it take as much time as it needed. But that, for me, is a fool’s game as work will expand to incorporate as much time as you have and then take a bit more for good measure. Sometimes I do get swept up in the momentum and will work beyond what is usual or reasonable, telling myself that it is the exception and not the rule.

But there is a growing understanding within me that if I allow the creative aspects of my life to be pushed into the background, my professional work suffers for it. It is a gradual revelation, showing itself in a growing irritation at others who don’t seem to be as dedicated (foolish?) as me. It also appears when problem solving lacks the zing that creativity brings to my working self. And my sense of fun tends to go missing as well.

So this time I’m going to prepare a different approach to ensure that time and space for creativity is given as much importance as it deserves during the next few weeks. My plan is to get up earlier of a morning to keep my writing routine and rhythm going, knowing that this ensures that I keep doing what keeps me happy without just hoping that I have enough energy left at the end of the day to get around to it. A comment by fellow blogger Real Life of an MSW recently about how to value your own time has helped with this approach.

How do you manage time for creativity when other pressures arise?

[Photo: part of a brief and beautiful rainbow in the Hartley Valley]

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11 thoughts on “Rhythms and Routines

  1. I’m actually struggling with this right now. I have always read during breakfast, but after reading “On Writing” by Stephen King I was inspired to write. However it made me sad to give up my reading time, so I claimed it back, without my writing time having it’s own home in my daily life. Generally it’s before bed, even though I never give myself enough time. I will need to do a bit of trial and ever to find a rhythm for me.

    • Thanks, Jo, and good to know I’m not alone in trying to work this out. I’m glad that you reclaimed your reading time and wish you luck in finding time for writing in your day. It is a constant challenge for me to find a routine of sorts, but maybe a rhythm is a better way to approach it – more flexible, enabling it to fit around other challenges in our lives 😊.

  2. I feel like this was written about me: Expansion of work, getting swept up in the momentum, allowing creativity to be pushed into the background, irritation at others, and missing fun.

    After years of trying to get off this roller coaster, I now accept the fact that my work always has and always will be my priority. My work ethic is part of who I am, and I don’t really want to change that. The overused term, “balance,” only exacerbates my self-imposed pressure. For me, work is propelled by discipline whereas creativity requires inspiration. When you need to create, you will. Don’t beat yourself up if that doesn’t happen with precise regularity.

    I love the rainbow, which is apropos for this post. Don’t we all wish our lives had this perfect alignment of color and light?

    • Thank you so much, Gail, for capturing the essence of what I was trying to express. I was impressed by your insight around accepting your work ethic and professionalism whilst acknowledging the importance of creativity in your life.

      By stepping away from the notion of a ‘balanced life’, there is space for creativity when the mood arises. And you are right – creativity can’t be scheduled but can flourish in pockets and unexpected moments.

      And I’m glad you liked the rainbow. I spotted it after a long and trying day at work; little moments like that remind me to look up and take in the beauty of the world around me, which in turn often inspire flashes of creativity 😊.

  3. Thank you for mentioning me 😊 Reading your first paragraph I was reminded why I keep a notebook in my bag it helps to quickly jot down a creative idea or two as were often surrounded by do much inspiration,

    • My pleasure – I just wish I could have referred to our exchange which made me realise that I was underselling my own time’s value, if that makes sense! And notebooks are great for capturing those little moments and fleeting thoughts that can sometimes be teased out into something great.

      • It does 😊 You will find your “paid” hour and when you do you can write about our conversation and your journey …

  4. Thanks for expressing this! Oh, I know this internal fight. Why do I treat my responsibilities to others as more important than my responsibility to myself and my creativity? I’m learning that if I don’t pay attention to my creative self, I have nothing–no energy, no drive, no inspiration–to give to others. It’s like a kind of selfish generosity. If I give to myself first, I then have much to give to others. I was raised to think of others before myself, and even writing this last sentence here wakes my internal critic into judgment. An example of selfish generosity–I love writing my weekly blog posts. They inspire me to look at my creative life and express what I am learning, and sometimes what I post connects with others. I am thinking we should all allow our creative selves to practice a little selfish generosity.

    • Thank you for your beautifully expressed comments, and for defining it as ‘selfish generosity’. So often we put aside what really brings us joy and inspiration by focusing on what is expected from our responsible selves. But you are right – if this part of our selves isn’t nurtured, then there is less to give in other aspects of our lives. All the more reason to carve out that space required to feed the curiosity and interest and inspiration that fuels our creativity.

      And I’m so glad that you express your selfish generosity in blog posts, allowing for others to benefit from and connect with your creativity 😊.

  5. Pingback: Mindful Moments | jml297

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