The Under-appreciated Benefits of Creative Consistency by Will Ringland

The Under-appreciated Benefits of Creative Consistency

I wanted to excerpt tis who article. From Sparring Mind:

Consistency begets consistency. A person in motion stays in motion, unless acted upon by a Netflix binge session. The creative mind is much like machinery. Too much work and you overload it, too little and a decrepit state of rusty thinking awaits you. Keep the process humming by allowing the steady flow of work to never let the mental cobwebs settle.

When you’re consistent, it means never having to restart. “I’m getting back into the swing of things,” famous last words uttered by countless people with schedules as reliable as the weather. Constant progress keeps morale high, keeps enthusiasm brimming, and increases your investment in a project

A propos of routine, I found this in my feed reader today. Constant progress keeps you motivated and your work top of mind. When you can relax into something, you form better connections with it to the world outside.

Consistency is integral to creativity. Writing doesn’t just transfer ideas, it creates them. The same can be said for all creative work. There is a risk, as Bruce Lee says, that “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” The inverse is rarely true, as doing something requires thinking about it. Consistent work puts you where the good ideas can find you.

With constant work comes constant inspiration. This is how you build inspiration, serendipity.

Routine makes your muse.

Routines of People Way Cooler than Me by Will Ringland

Want to develop a better work routine? Discover how some of the world's greatest minds organized their days.
Click image to see the interactive version (via Podio).

The greater part of success is routine. You have to show up and do the work. This is the biggest thing I have learned from the last 6 months of living with a morning protocol.

Before I started Wrestling with Franklin, I changed up my daily routine to something pretty similar to his (5th line above!). I don't remember if that was intentional but it's been such a useful thing, especially recently as I am writing more.

This is what my daily routine looks like:

5am: Wake up; Feed the cats; Make coffee.
5:30a: Write, research.
6:30a: Get ready for work.
7-11a: Work.
5:30p: Exercise.
7:30p: Relax.
9p: Review the day.
10p: Zzzzz....

There's some variability with work - deadlines or meetings or big projects will keep me later which usually means taco's for dinner so I get an approprite amount of recouperation time.

My weekends look the same though much more flexible. I'll typically spend the whole morning each day reading and relaxing, make me and Alyska breakfast, before doing some Bunny Rope business stuff or errands for Doomsday(1).

I do sleep in occasionally if I'm having a bad allergy day and didn't sleep well or to just catch up a little if I've been exercising hard and need it.(2) In those cases, I just start my day when I'm up - I got up today, made coffee, and immdiately started writing.

Routine creates space in your day to accomplish specific things. The more you do a thing the easier it becomes. You build muscle to lift that weight, create neural pathways to remember that language. Its evolutionary - respond to new stimulus or die.

When you create routine for creative work, you're body contours itself to that purpose. You build a creative habit which gets strong the more you use it.

I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.
- Peter DeVries.(

  1. As an aside: I wonder about my industriousness. I feel like I spend waaaaay too much time in the internet when I could be researching. I see valie on a little brainless time but I feel like reading on topics for projects should be more satisfying if not more pleasurable. More on this later when I get to the week on Industry. Probably.

  2. Slept until 9 today, in fact, because of a party last night. It was glorious until the cats went crazy because I didn't feed them...

  3. This quote has been attributed to Peter de Vries, William Faulkner, Somerset Maugham, and Raymond Chandler. There's a little investigation available here.

On Routine by ABMann


On Routine.

It’s been about a month now since I changed my morning routine and I think it is going swimmingly. Most of you that are reading this are aware of the early-morning handwriting practice but that is only one of a few things I’m doing in the morning important to me.

For the last ten years my morning routine looked like this:

wake up around 6
hit snooze for too dang long
run to the shower
get dressed
go to work
This was, effectively, starting the day with a stress hormone bath. I would sort if ease into the work day by starting with email and coffee/breakfast from work’s cafe but that’s still vaguely stress-inducing.

It was, I think, causing my brain to maintain unnecessarily high rates of stress. Enough that I grind my teeth in my sleep, wake with tension headaches and be a generally less valuable human all around.

That needed to change.

My new routine looks like this:

alarm at 5am
glare at Ginger for meowing at me for not immediately getting up (seriously, she vocalizes at me if I don’t get up immediately [to feed her])
(feed cats)
make coffee
handwritten journal about the last day, dreams, things that occurred to me while making coffee (about a page)
penmanship practice
meditate (5-15 minutes depending in how crazed my brain is that morning)

…. Then I enter into the same point with previous routine and get to work around 7. Much calmer. I get to work much calmer.
In reflection I think this routine change, in a line of attempted routine changes, worked because it hits a few sweets spots of desired activities for me. I get to adopt a new skill (penmanship), introspect (journaling), enjoy solitude (meditation). I suspect the semi frequent positive reinforcement from meditative Oneness helps too but all the actives work in tandem way better than previous attempts at, say, exercising immediately.

Not to say that isn’t a good way to start the day - when I was running regularly (and it wasn’t painful any more) I did that too with great success. The biggest potential flaw in the exercise routine is the Gorram Winter. This one can be done in Winter through liberal use of programmable thermostats.

I also believe that this change in routine and the subsequent increase in general calmness has lead to some other things: increased productvity, better diet control, decreased alcohol intake, an improved sense of well being.

So, it’s been good.

Now, if my handwriting would just get better faster.

Picture: this is the iPad app Scape from Brian Eno. It’s a generative music app I use to help me meditate. I’m not so good at dismissing thought as I used to be when I first meditate in junior high.

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