"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Friday, July 29, 2011

7 Inspiring Daily Rituals

Have you ever wondered how some of your favorite authors and famous thinkers spent their day? In my last post I shared a daily schedule for a writer. Something I might like to use when I no longer have the joy of two little ones at home with me every day. Since then, I came across a website full of fun facts about the daily routines of writers, artists and other great thinkers. Below is a list with a few of my favorites and a link to the website if you want to see more.
1. CS Lewis. Writer and thinker CS Lewis had a very clear schedule of his day, with activities such as work, walking, meals, tea, and socializing down to the very hour they should be done. He even describes when beer should be enjoyed (not at 11:00 for fear of running over the allotted 10 minutes for the break).
2. Fred Rogers. Don’t doubt that Fred Rogers was indeed a great thinker, despite the fact that he is best known as the familiar Mr. Rogers from the long-lasting PBS children’s show. His television show was a safe place for many young children, by his design, and he fought hard, in his quiet manner, for the show to stay on the air. The famous routine that started and ended his show was not the only routine in his life. Each day he would wake at 5:30 and begin his day with reading, writing, study, and prayer. He would take a swim most days of his life, take a late-afternoon nap, and go to bed at 9:30 each night. Perhaps the most idiosyncratic of his rituals was that he kept his weight at 143 pounds his entire adult life. He saw his weight one day and realized it aligned with the number of letters in "I love you" and vowed to maintain that weight, which he did.
3. Stephen King. This famed writer keeps to a strict routine each day, starting the morning with a cup of tea or water and his vitamin. King sits down to work between 8:00 and 8:30 in the same seat with his papers arranged on his desk in the same way. He claims that starting off with such consistency provides a signal to his mind in preparation for his work.
4. Benjamin Franklin. Franklin kept to a tight schedule, starting his day waking at 4:00 am. Until 8:00, he would wake, wash, eat breakfast, and think about what he would accomplish for the day. From 8:00 to 12:00, he worked. Lunch was from 12:00-1:00, where he ate, read, or looked over his accounts. He then worked until 5:00. The evening was filled with dinner, cleaning up, music or conversation, a look back over his day, and then bed at 10:00.
5. Aldous Huxley. This famous thinker and writer would start early each day sharing a breakfast with his wife. He would work uninterrupted until lunchtime. After lunch, he and his wife would go for a drive or a walk, then he would return to work again from 5:00 to 7:00, then have dinner. After dinner, his wife would read to him until almost midnight. Due to an eye illness early in life that left Huxley with very poor eyesight, he relied heavily on his wife to do many activities for him besides reading. She often typed his manuscripts and was even reported to have cut his steak for him at dinner.
6. Haruki Murakami. This popular Japanese novelist sticks to a specific daily schedule that begins at 4:00 when he awakes. He writes for five or six hours, then either runs 10k or swims 1500 meters (or sometimes, both). After his workout, he reads and listens to music until he goes to bed at 9:00. Murakami claims that writing a novel requires both the physical and mental strength that his routine provides.
7. Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway described his writing ritual as starting just as the sun began rising, then working straight through until whatever he had to say was said. He likens completing his morning of writing to making love to someone you love–being both empty and fulfilled at the same time. Upon completing that morning’s work, he would wait until the next morning to begin again, going over his ideas in his head and holding on to the anticipation of starting again the next day.


Angela said...

I used to have a rituals. Then my kids stop going to school for the summer and they have flown out the window. It will be nice to get back to them again in September.

Karen Mortensen said...

This is awesome. Being organized is a good thing.

Christine Rains said...

A great post. I use to have more rituals until I had my son. Perhaps when he's old enough to be in school I'll be able to get back into my old flow.

Paula Martin said...

Hmm, maybe I'd better start having a ritual/routine. I used to be VERY organised when I was working - but then I retired! Now I enjoy NOT having a routine!

Rob-bear said...

Having lived through serious health problems for several years, my life is beginning to recover. And I am recovering rituals that help me make the best of my day.
While none of the rituals on which you have reported would work for me, I'm becoming more comfortable with re-ritualizing.

Tonja said...

That was really interesting, especially what you wrote about Hemingway. I can almost picture him writing like that, except in my mind he's Marlin Brando. Not sure where that got crossed in my mind - probably the marlin.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the visit, Sylvia and your kind encouragement.

Sylvia Ney said...

Rituals can be very beneficial, but you shouldn't forget to break them occasionally as well!

shelly said...

Enjoyable blog. I know when I sit down to write, I need my big cup of tea, a big bottle of water, music, and a scented candle burning.