Daily Rituals

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If you have ever read my personal blog, Life.Beauty.Laughter., you will know that I have a little writing crush on Sarah Wilson. I just think she is wonderful. So it should not come as a surprise that this post is inspired by one that Sarah wrote a while ago, about perving on other people’s daily rituals.

Sarah is big on routines, especially in the mornings. I would love to have one of my own, but I have lapsed so many times. I think it is a combination of being whimsy, flighty and lazy. My daily activities fluctuate according to my moods, sleep patterns and ensuing deadlines. Still, I am enamoured with the idea of a routine, one which will instil my life with some much-needed balance,  focus and peace of mind.

Daily rituals seem to be common amongst writers and deep thinkers, both of which I hope to be one day. Some of my favourites include:

Toni Morrison. Writer Toni Morrison describes not only her daily routine, but the importance of rituals to writers. Morrison describes her own ritual involving making a cup of coffee and watching the light come into the day. Her habit of rising early was first formed as the mother to three children, but after her children left home, she discovered a routine of her own–that still includes early mornings. Morrison urges all writers to look at what time of day they are most productive and what type of surrounding is most conducive to their work to help form rituals that will promote creativity.
Simone de Beauvoir. French writer and lifelong companion to Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir reported that she got bored if she didn’t work and tried to work every day except the few months she would take off to travel. While writing, she woke with tea, then began her work around 10:00. She would work until 1:00, then have lunch and socialize with friends. At 5:00, she would resume working, usually at Sartre’s apartment, until she would stop for the day at 9:00.
Haruki Murakami. This popular Japanese novelist sticks to a specific daily schedule that begins at 4:00 when he awakes. He writes for five or six hours, then either runs 10k or swims 1500 meters (or sometimes, both). After his workout, he reads and listens to music until he goes to bed at 9:00. Murakami claims that writing a novel requires both the physical and mental strength that his routine provides.

Those of you who read my blog will also know that I adore Haruki Murakami. I am currently reading his memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, an exploration of the way his vigorous exercise regime has sharpened his writing talent by providing him with focus and endurance, both of which Haruki identifies as essential characteristics of a novelist (along with, of course, talent). The process of writing a novel, Haruki explains, is like digging a deep hole.

I have to pound the rock with a chisel and dig a deep hole before I can locate the source of creativity... The whole process – sitting at your desk, focusing your mind like a laser beam, imagining something out of a blank horizon, creating a story, selecting the right words, one by one, keeping the whole flow of the story on track – requires far more energy, over a long period, than most people ever imagine.

Reading his memoir, I can see that it is Haruki’s strength, maturity and grounded sense of self that makes his writing so deep and magical; he is, undoubtedly, one of my writing idols, and I would be beyond thrilled if, one day, I could write with a single ounce of his elegance and profundity. At 21-years-old, I don’t feel as though I will be able to emulate Haruki’s wisdom anytime soon. I do think, however, that a lovely daily routine, one like those espoused by Sarah, will help me to cultivate my writing skills. A routine which suits me to the core, fills my heart and brings me joy. One that instils a sense of calm and provides me with the strength to dig the deep hole Haruki speaks of. For, when we waste time and energy worrying about pointless things like what to have for breakfast and where we left our car-keys, it is difficult to find the focus and endurance needed to ponder the mystery of life; and even more impossible to solve it. 

(Picture via M Dash)

Comments (2)

Love it Laura :) I am just about to write a post on this topic! Thanks for inspiring me to think about it...

Thank you Bel! My pleasure, I can't wait to read yours :) xx

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