|Zen monk in here. Somewhere.|
My reading last week wasn't just about writing. I also did some personal reading of a zenny nature. But everything, I find, is about time or writing or both. The Zen Habits blog post 12 Essential Rules to Live More Like a Zen Monk is a case in point.
The Live Like a Zen Monk post had been bookmarked for me for some time. When I finally read it, what do I find? It happens to fit in with my attempt to do more this year by doing less. In fact, item 4 on this guy’s list is actually “do less.”
So what does the blogger Leo Babauta suggest that can work for us writers?
The Zenny Writer
- Do one thing at a time. I’ve already given up listening to podcasts while cooking. I couldn’t find podcasts anymore that interested me enough to keep my attention while I was working, and I couldn’t focus and absorb much from the ones I was listening to. Do one thing and do it well.
- Do it completely. That isn’t going to work often for a writer. But we can certainly break a writing task into what we’re going to do today and get that done. And we can certainly “put away” a project when we have to put it aside for a while, as Babauta describes. Less material chaos around us and in our minds. And if we put it away with a plan for how we’re going to start again? Even better.
- Do less. Don't overload that to-do list. Having to rush to get everything done doesn't necessarily produce our best quality. And leaving tasks undone can make us feel overwhelmed.
- Develop rituals. I’m thinking a start work ritual might be a great idea. (How many writers start work with a cup of coffee?) and a stop work ritual could be good, too, one that involves putting work away, perhaps. (See above.)
- Determine what's necessary and ditch what isn't. This isn't just about material things. What are we doing that isn't necessary? Getting rid of those activities will leave more time for more important things we want to do.