“Actually, I jade very quickly. Once is usually enough. Either once only, or every day. If you do something once it’s exciting, and if you do it every day it’s exciting. But if you do it, say, twice or just almost every day, it’s not good any more.” – Andy Warhol
I found the above quote while reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s meditation on creativity Big Magic. In searching for the quote online I realised it was also featured in The Happiness Project, so Warhol has been getting a lot of bestselling love recently. I can see why, it’s a pretty great little sound bite. I don’t think I’d ever really thought about the things that I commit to defined by such parameters, but something switched on inside me when I read this.
Doing something every day is exciting.
I’ve been trying to get back to work on the novel that I started writing last year as a way of coping with my burn out. One of the main reasons I started this blog was simply to get back into the habit of daily writing because I was avoiding my novel. Bringing myself to work on my creative writing has always been a struggle for me. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, but I put so many expectations on myself I get paralysed by the very idea of writing. Reading Warhol’s quote seemed to unlock an understanding of my creative process for me.
If I don’t do it every day, I lose momentum and then it isn’t any good any more.
The same concept applies to exercise. And reading and cooking and meditation. If I do these things every day I am consistently inspired. If I only do them sometimes, I get bored and reticent to act. I end up lying in bed, watching Netflix and eating takeaway.
So I’ve been committing to a daily writing practice, just like I have committed to daily yoga and meditation. Writing every day opens the scope for playfulness. I’m producing so much material that it’s fine if the bulk of it gets tossed away in the end. The words themselves cease to be precious gems that have been agonisingly mined from the mind. With daily practice there is a steady stream of words from which to pluck as needed.
There is a flow that happens when you work on something every day. With yoga I feel new strengths all the time, new calm. With meditation I have developed the ability to simply drop out for a moment or two as needed. With writing I have started finding sources of inspiration everywhere. The daily practice means that I am always open to new ideas, willing to try writing about anything. Who cares if it doesn’t come to much?
Tomorrow is a new day.
What do you practice every day?