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Topic subjectCreating Every Day - Looking to foster new habits or disrupt old ones?
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1861, Creating Every Day - Looking to foster new habits or disrupt old ones?
Posted by c71, Thu May-02-19 12:08 PM

Vivian Wagner Ph.D.

The Creative Life

Creating Every Day

Looking to foster new habits or disrupt old ones?

Posted May 01, 2019

For the last three years, I’ve been writing daily poems in response to the prompts in The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice, by Kelli Russell Agodon and Martha Silano. It’s hard to believe, but in the course of that time, I’ve written over 800 poems. I’ve published some of them in journals and books, and yet, the real value of this practice for me has not been in the finished products so much as in the daily practice of creating them. It is, in a real sense, practice—and like any other kind of practice, it's all about strength-building, resolve, and just the simple joy of doing something every day.

There’s a power in daily practice that comes from committing yourself to a creative project and then, simply, doing it. Waking up every morning and doing that thing can help to give a sense of structure to your day, as well as a sense of personal power and fortitude.

The Daily Poet, by Kelly Russell Agodon and Martha Silano, provides prompts that can help foster a daily writing practice.

It doesn’t matter what the creative project is. It can be writing or painting or drawing or even simply going for a walk or meditating. What you do in your daily practice is up to you. If you’re stuck, or uncertain what to do, consider choosing something that you enjoy, that you want to do, that you want to improve on, or that you want to learn. You might draw a daily doodle or paint a daily picture. You might take a daily photo or write a daily journal page. The key thing is starting a practice and continuing it for some period of time.

Whatever you do, a daily creative practice involving that activity can help to focus the mind and give a sense of purpose, and it can also offer a sense of accomplishment in seeing that you can do what you set out to do. In this sense, a daily creative practice can spill over into the rest of your life, helping you to feel more creative and capable in your job, relationships, parenting or other activities.

The daily practice can also change—you don’t need to keep doing one practice forever. You might do one thing for a year or a month or forty days or a hundred days. There’s even an official #The100DayProject that you can take on if you’d like, which can help to give a sense of community along with your practice.

Whatever you commit to, and whenever you commit to doing it, a daily creative practice can transform your life. We tend to get in a rut, with particular habits and routines overwhelming us. That, I think, is the secret of committing to a daily practice. We already have daily habits. We have our routines, though many of them are the result more of happenstance than conscious choice.

Choosing a daily creative practice, on the other hand, promises a renewed sense of purpose. Doing some kind of daily practice helps to create new habits, and the experience of habit formation and reformation is just as important as the particular habits themselves.

I’ve grown to love my daily poem-writing habit, and I plan to continue it into the foreseeable future. It’s become as important to me as taking a shower or brushing my teeth. The fact that it’s resulting in hundreds of poems to play with, revise, and send out into the world is just a fortunate byproduct. The real joy, I’ve found, is in the daily practice itself.