Rhythm, Routine and Ritual: Tailoring your Creative Life
On one of my Instagram posts a while back I talked about creative routine and it was pointed out to me that some choose to abide by a creative rhythm as opposed to sticking to a more structured routine. Of course this got me thinking about the intricacies, differences and partnership of rhythms, routines and rituals - I do love alliteration.
Starting with rhythms, I think is prudent; our bodies after all are centred around their own circadian rhythms, our world is beholden to the rhythms of the moon, and one of the most basic, primitive forms of movement - dance - is based on moving in rhythm to the pull of music. I believe creativity works on a rhythm as well - that’s how we enter a creative flow, how we are able to engage with inspiration and the muse. Why not harness this rhythm when considering deadlines, work load, pacing and project selection? I find the best rhythm when I am typing away on the keys, enthralled in the tides of music or breathing through the peak of a workout. Listening to the rhythm of my body is where I find my creative hum. It’s what awakens me to start my day, sets my peak productivity times and tells me when to rest. Listening more closely to this rhythm in my body, can better allow me to manifest this rhythm through my creativity. Noting the changes of my rhythm as the seasons change and my energy levels fluctuate, means adaptability is required in my creative rhythm as well in order to maintain a cohesive symphony from ideation to creation.
Harnessing that rhythm, allowing it to guide the set up of a routine accounts for upholding consistency in a creative practice. Routine, to me, does not mean rigidity, rather it indicates attention paid to structure. Aligning personal rhythms with a creative practice routine, a way to navigate the day ensures your creativity is not at odds with the rest of life at large. For example, my creative routine is, admittedly, not near perfect, but at least it has a daily morning routine to create an Instagram post, followed by short evening sessions of writing split between weekly blog posts, writing for another blog professionally, and making headway on new and drafted novels. However, I allow space for flexibility in the routine as well. When D&D sessions encroach on time or I feel like fiddling with pastels and have the need to choreograph for recital this routine can be adjusted to suit the creative pursuit that is most pressing at the time. Forcing a creative discipline, or ignoring another aspect of your creative self because it is not the precise time for it can lead to repressed creativity and increased frustration.
By taking a tiny piece of routine out to examine and make divine, or create separate practices altogether to enhance aspects of rhythm and routine to express their full purpose and your own preparedness for the practice we create rituals. Whether flexing your hands over the keys in a particular way before you begin writing, a set of brushes you swipe across your palm before painting or a meditation or affirmation ritual before you begin a creative session, ritual presents itself in small and large ways. I myself have a nightly ritual where I light a candle for relaxation before the start of my skincare ritual in preparation for sleep. When it comes to creativity I have a ritual warm up and playlist to ready my body when I need to choreograph a piece. When it comes to D&D I have a particular set of metal dice I prefer for initiative rolls, checks, and magic damage and another entirely for ranged attacks and melee weapons altogether. I have a ritual of 3 rolls pre game and a fiddle habit that has become ritual right before a significant saving throw.
By beginning with a ritual to center and focus yourself on creativity before beginning your routine creative practice aligned with your natural rhythms, your creative life can weave seamlessly with all the rest of it! Creativity is not a separate part of yourself that you fit in as you can, it is a vital part of who you are that makes you capable of upholding your duties, life and joys in every facet of living.