My Daily Ritual

I’m reading a book entitled Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Curry, which is exactly what it sounds like it would be. The revelation (to me) is that so many artists—painters, writers, composers—had almost unvarying routines around which they built their work. A remarkable number of them seem to have at least mild obsessive-compulsive disorder.

So I got to thinking, “Hey, I’m an artist. I have an almost unvarying and boring routine just like these more famous folks. I think I’ll bore my blog readers with it and preserve it for what will undoubtedly be an entirely uninterested posterity!”

Thus:

I get up between three-fifteen and four-fifteen every morning. Remarkably, it isn’t because I have two somewhat rowdy cats. In fact, sometimes I get them up rather than the other way around. It seems to be my natural circadian rhythm to arise so early and then settle down to sleep between eight and nine in the evening. (Thank goodness for the DVR or I would see no prime-time TV, ever.)

After my initial (very minimal) ablutions, I feed the cats and pour my first cup of coffee, then go back to the bedroom where I have a zabuton (meditation mat) and zafu (cushion) set up in the corner opposite a small altar. I read from one of my many books of Zen Buddhism for ten minutes or so while sipping the coffee and then meditate for ten minutes or so—usually with my cat Maxine snugged in right next to me, purring away. Stella, her sister, invariably remains indifferent to what Maxine and I are doing.

I return to the kitchen and make breakfast which is always either 1) one slice of bacon, one egg, three dried apricots and orange juice or 2) a bowl of instant oatmeal with orange juice. And more coffee, of course, in either case.

Over breakfast and for an hour or so afterward, I putter about the web, primarily Facebook and Twitter—though very first thing I always check to see if there are any new reviews of my books on Amazon. I post my photo and quote of the day on Facebook, check in on a few discussion groups, see what’s new in my News feed and whether anybody has been looking at my author page or website, and generally just zone out in cyberspace.

Then, Monday through Friday, I settle down to work on my current book-in-progress in Microsoft Word. I continue until I have at least three pages that I’m relatively satisfied with. Sometimes I keep going until I have seven or eight pages. Saturday morning, I edit what I’ve written in the past week rather than writing any more. Sundays I take off from the book although I might work on my column or the blog.

In any event, once I’m done with that writing session I’m done. The rest of the day is mine to do whatever I want or whatever I’ve promised. Sometimes I feel a little guilty about having so much free time but the writing energy seems to be limited to what I expend daily now. There ain’t no more.

And, it’s only a little guilty that I feel. And not often.

Mostly, I feel like, “Damn! This is a great life I’ve got here.”

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