“Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.”

Shunryu Suzuki

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“The less routine the more life.”

Amos Bronson Alcott

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“The secret of your life is hidden in your daily routine.”

Mike Murdock

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“As long as habit and routine dictate the pattern of living, new dimensions of the soul will not emerge.”

Henry Van Dyke

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I am a creature of routine.  I adore my routine.  I like to get up in the morning, have a cup of tea, read the paper, eat breakfast.  Take the dog for a walk, come home, have another cup of tea, check my email.  Then I can shower, get dressed, and start my day.

If this routine is disrupted, I feel off.  I get cranky.  I like things to go as they are supposed to go.  I like to go to bed at the same (insanely early) time every night.  I like to watch murder documentaries while I fall asleep.  I like my days to be predictable and for things to happen when they always happen.

Of course, in between my morning routine and my evening routine, I kind of like to have a varied bunch of things to do throughout the day.  So, I have to wonder, am I really a creature of habit, or some sort of hybrid?  And is it a bad thing to be bound by routine?

As you can see by the quotes above, there are lots of opinions on this question.  I kind of like the zen quote… but, being someone who likes routine, of course I would.  I dislike the quote about routine preventing new dimensions of the soul from emerging, naturally.  So is it a good thing to have a routine, or am I hampering my creative process by sticking to the same day-in, day-out?

I can adapt, don’t get me wrong.  I can deal with it when my routine doesn’t happen.  Like I said, I get grumpy sometimes.  But I can do it.  And I don’t spend the entire day stuck into a lock-step pattern, either.

As I’m typing, I am thinking this through.  I think that actually, routine can be a help to the creative.  For myself, I know that I have to write regularly, or I don’t write at all.  If I wait for inspiration to strike, I will generally wait a long time.  A lot of the reading I have done on being a writer states that an aspiring writer should sit down on a regular basis and just write, whatever flows out the fingers.  And I know from my own experience that I write more and write better when I do just that.

So I think that rather than blocking my creativity, routine might actually be the secret that sets it free.  I am trying to set aside a certain amount of time on a regular basis to just write.  Part of that is the revival of this blog — I can come here and just do it, consciously leaving my perfectionism aside for the duration.  (Not an easy thing to do!)  I think I will experiment with this idea, and see if devoting regular time to write makes the difference that I suspect it will.  Now I just have to follow through, another not-easy thing to do!

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