Preparation—getting everything just so, the right desk, the right software and computer, the right room, the right beverage, the right time, the right mindset—is really simply a form of hiding. Sometimes it's only a few moments, sometimes it's days, but I always hide before writing every single one of these blog posts. I definitely don't enjoy the hiding. I mildly enjoy the writing. I love the reading and thinking parts that this 13-year labor of insanity requires. But some people are not only good at the writing, they absolutely love the craft of writing itself.
While you or I may respond with a counter-argument, Tolkien went home and wrote 148 lines of heroic couplet […]
~ Brenton Dickieson from, https://apilgriminnarnia.com/2013/05/21/mythopoiea/
This seemed insane. Who would take an idea for a counter-argument, from a conversation, and rush off to go write for what must have been hours? And then I realized that I do that sort of thing all the time. I run with an idea down some rabbit hole, forming it into something real in the world. It's only that I don't it with writing.
In the most recent months I've been waking up with this strange sensation. In the Fall I started deleting things; I started changing projects to require less input, simplifying where I could, and in some cases outright eliminating. Whereas in recent years I've generally awakened with a sense of "should"—I should do this, I should have yesterday done that—in the most recent months I've awakened with this strange sensation. It's not optimism per se, but it's close. What do I want to do today? …do that.
Hovering before me as I wake is the work I know I need to do that day. Inevitably, that labor is daunting. Inescapably, it brings up fear. I don’t want to do it. This fear and this avoidance combine to create the witch’s brew that boils and bubbles in the cauldron of my brain.
~ Steven Pressfield from, https://stevenpressfield.com/2023/10/my-head-in-the-morning-2/
In the Age of Fire I continuously expanded what I wanted to do, beyond the bounds of possibility and reason. Lately, having realized that nothing I do actually matters, I'm free—I've always been free—to pick a few nice things upon which to apply myself.
I can go for walks with others, with music, or with podcasts, and those things usually crowd out my frenzied thoughts and internal monolog. But it's much better when I manage to leave enough space for my thoughts to settle. Wrestling with my own thinking just gets us both of us riled up.
This practice teaches you that you don’t need to address every instance of mental talk you have. In fact, your thoughts will never leave you alone if you try to resolve every train of thought that arises. Instead, you can just enjoy the world as it reveals itself before you.
~ David Cain from, https://www.raptitude.com/2023/10/how-to-make-your-mind-maybe-one-third-quieter/
Serenity is to be found when walking truly alone—not even accompanied by one's own thoughts.
Simply put, all of my problems stem from trying to jam too much into each day. Partly that's from my having too many ideas. But mostly that's from insufficient self-awareness to let things go. Over a few decades I've steered away from the typical schedule (and it was never anything like a 9-to-5 job.) But I'm still on a strict sleep schedule, with strict light hygiene practices, and no alarm clock. I sleep in utter darkness, and I awake as the room lighting slowly comes up to full brightness—a mimicked sunrise. But I'm still clinging to set times.
Sometimes I break routine by staying out, or up, past my usual bedtime. Sometimes I'm traveling and staying with others. In either case, I don't seem to have trouble bending my sleep schedule. I'm often the first person to "crash", but other than that, with a bit of balance-the-total-sleep-time over-sleeping… I feel pretty normal the next day.
All humans, animals, insects and birds have clocks inside, biological devices controlled by genes, proteins and molecular cascades. These inner clocks are connected to the ceaseless yet varying cycle of light and dark caused by the rotation and tilt of our planet. They drive primal physiological, neural and behavioural systems according to a roughly 24-hour cycle, otherwise known as our circadian rhythm, affecting our moods, desires, appetites, sleep patterns, and sense of the passage of time.
~ Karen Emslie from, https://aeon.co/essays/why-broken-sleep-is-a-golden-time-for-creativity
Except for how much I can get done. On those "next days" where I've been off my rigid sleep times. I get vastly less done, and not just because there are fewer hours in the day when I sleep longer in the morning. In fact, the more I glimpse that other world—went to bed whenever, slept until the right amount of time… and then face a less-productive day. The more I realize, that is the better amount of things to attempt to accomplish: Sleep on a healthy, light-driven cycle, and do half as much in the day.