255: 34 Inspiring Daily Rituals to Ignite Your Creativity

We talk quite often about the importance of routine, and how by having a routine, we actually set ourselves free, especially our minds. And it is in that vein that Mason Curry shares his two books Daily Rituals. His second is focused entirely on Women at Work, sharing the routines and preferences of creative women […] Listen now or continue reading below.

We talk quite often about the importance of routine, and how by having a routine, we actually set ourselves free, especially our minds. And it is in that vein that Mason Curry shares his two books Daily Rituals. His second is focused entirely on Women at Work, sharing the routines and preferences of creative women who lived and created over the past four centuries.

I thoroughly enjoyed his second book, even more than the first which I also found great inspiration. It was refreshing to see so many women living their lives in a variety of different ways, but all in which they discovered worked well for them and the craft they most loved.

Not all of the ideas resonated with me, but it was wonderful to get into the minds for a moment of these women and how they approached their days. I highlighted vigorously from beginning to end, and would like to share 34 daily routines to consider to enable your creative ideas to flow freely and without withdrawal.

Some will speak to you, some will not, but each one is inspired by a woman’s routine which is shared in the book: Daily Rituals: Woman at Work – 143 artists on how they paint, write, perform, direct, choreograph, design, sclpt, compose, dance, etc.

~Be sure to tune into the audio version of the podcast where much more discussion takes place on each point. 

1.Begin with a hot glass of lemon water

Designer Elsa Schiaparelli woke up at 8 am, sipped lemon-juice-and-water and a cup of tea for breakfast as she read the papers, handled private correspondence, made telephone calls and gave the menus of the day to the cook.

2. Wake up early if that is when your creativity is most fruitful

—Lillian Hellman would wake up at 6am.

—Marie Bashkirtseff would wake up at 6am

—Maggie Hambling wakes up at 5am each morning

“I get up between three or four o’clock in the morning, because that’s my best writing time.” —Octavia Butler

3. If spending less time with people fuels your creativity, embrace it fully

“I enjoy people best if I can be alone much of the time. I used to worry about it because my family worried about it. And I finally realized: This is the way I am. That’s that.” —Octavia Butler in 1998

4. If traditional “holidays” don’t work for you, create your own, or dive into what you love.

Coco Chanel worked six days a week, and dreaded Sundays and holidays. As she told one confidant, “That word, ‘vacation,’ makes me sweat.”

5. Greet the day in a habitual way that sets the tone for a great day

6. Live your ideas, don’t talk about them

“People would sit around and talk about things constantly. I never really went in for that. If you talk something out, you will never do it. You can spend every evening talking with your friends and colleagues about your dreams, but they will remain just that —dreams.” —choreographer Martha Graham

7. Keep a small journal next to your bed to capture ideas

“I always have notebook and pencil on the table at my bedside. I may wake up in the middle of the night with something I want to put down.” —American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay

8. If you work at home, carve out a part of the day to get out of the house and just absorb inspiration or let go of the day completely 

“In the nocturnal evening, I get the hell out to some movie or damn play and I come back and sleep like a rock.” —Frida Kahlo

9. Figure out the ingredients that are needed to let the ideas find you

To develop a new work of choreography, Agnes de Mille needed ‘a pot of tea, walking space, privacy and an idea’.

10. Don’t feel obligated to keep the same schedule when you are in the middle of creating your art or craft

Margaret Bourke-White required long periods of solitude to write, with as few interruptions as possible.” In an interview with a Life photographer Nina Leen, Leen remembers after asking her if she would have lunch with her, “She told me she was writing a book and there was no hope of a lunch for several years.

11. Don’t feel bad for loving your work and working on what you love beyond the traditional work hours.

“Everything seems petty and uninteresting, everything except my work . . . “. Russian-born painter and sculptor Marie Bashkirtseff

12. Do something during the day that is relaxing and keeps you present

‘I relax before lunch by arranging flowers . . . When these are all beautifully arranged in bowls and vases, it’s usually lunch time.” —English actress Gertrude Lawrence

13. Have a studio or space of your own to create

“The most important thing is to have a studio and establish and preserve its atmosphere.” —Agnes Martin

14. If you love solitude, embrace it 

“But it is, as Yeats said, a ‘solitary sedentary trade.’ And I did a lot of gardening and cooked my own food, and listened to music, and of course I would read. I was really very happy. I can live a solitary life for month at a time, and it does me good.” —poet Katherine Anne Porter

15. Trust your intuition as to what works best for you

“It’s not right if it doesn’t feel right.” —English painter Bridget Riley

16. Find regular time to just read what you love

Rachel Whiteread [English sculptor] would “at some point stop for lunch, and she’d often spend an hour of the day reading sitting in a comfortable chair away from her desk.

17. Establish a flexible routine to work with what you need

Morning routine: “Zittel feeds her chickens, waters plants, and performs other outdoor chores before meditating, taking a shower, making breakfast and getting dressed. In the winter, Zittel’s morning schedule reverses: She meditates, showers and eats breakfast first; then, once the sun has raised the outdoor temperature, she heads out on her hike and does chores. ‘It’s really all about establishing a flexible routine.”Andrea Zittel, an American artist, in 2017

18. Don’t quit trying to live the life you wish to live

“It never occurred to me that I couldn’t live the life I wanted to lead. It never occurred to me that I could be stopped . . . I had this very simple view: that the reason people who start out with ideals or aspirations don’t do what they dream of doing when they’re young is because they quit. I thought, well, I won’t quit.” —Susan Sontag

19. Try a crossword puzzle like Joan Mitchell

20. Determine what view in your studio/sanctuary/work space is most productive for inspiration

“Where do I write? In a Morris chair beside the window, where I can see a few trees and a patch of sky, more or less blue.” —Kate Chopin, American writer

21. End the day with a signal to your mind to relax

“During the performance I drink water with breadcrumbs, which is most refeshing. After the ballet I have a bath as soon as possible. Then I go out to dinner, as by that time I have an unmerciful hunger. When I get home I drink tea.” —Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova

22. Let baths be your creative muse

“Baths also played a part in her creative process – a post-breakfast bath enjoyed regularly by Virginia Woolf.

23. Let lunch be a true mid-day break

At 1:00 p.m., Hambling has lunch, takes her Tibetan terrier, Lux, for a walk, and switches on the television to satisfy her tennis addiction.

24. Write when inspiration hits – even if it is in bed in the morning so as not lose the ideas. 

25. Go outside and breathe in the fresh air

“Fresh air and cold water are my stimulants.” —Harriet Martineau – the first female sociologist

26. Enjoy someone’s company for tea, lunch or a walk regularly 

Emily Post would regularly welcome a guest or two for tea in the afternoon.

27. It’s okay for your personal time to be less than what others feel is acceptable 

“It seems to me you have to have your personal life organized so that it takes as little of your time as possible. Otherwise you can’t make your art.” –Eleanor Antin

28. Don’t expect the routine to come naturally, create one and stick with it as it enables you to flourish

29. Cook and walk

“The only other essential component of her day is a twice-daily walk with her dog, during which she avoids thinking about her writing project. In the evening, she makes herself a simple dinner and goes to bed at 10:00 or 11:00 p.m..” —Isabel Allende

30. Create space for your ideas to be seen 

“Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.” — Hilary Mantel

“I think the way to become inspired is to empty your mind and let things come into your mind.”  —Joan Jonas

31. Do you and don’t apologize

“I live here as in Paris. I rise every day at 5 o’clock; I drink my two large glasses of hot water; I take my coffee; I write when I am alone, which is rare; I do my hair in company; I dine every day with the king, chez lui, or with him and les seigneurs. I make calls after dinner; I go to the theater; I return to my place at ten o’clock; I drink my hot water , and I go to bed.” —Marie-Thérèse Rodet Geoffrin, a major salonniéres of the French Englightenment

32. Turn on music paired with your favorite drink to start the day

“I wake about nine, turn on the symphony and have juice, fruit and a pot of black coffee . . . ” —Grace Hartigan, American painter

33. Leave evenings open for your social engagements

“In the evening, she would see a friend for dinner or attend another social engagement. But the real key to this perfect writing day, she said, was to know that the following day would be exactly the same.” —Eudora Welty

34. Be patient until you find what works, then cherish it

“Trial and error, and then when you’ve found your needs, what feeds you, what is your instinctive rhythm and routine, then cherish it.” —novelist Doris Lessing

~SIMILAR POSTS/EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

~Why Not . . . Be Creative?

~The Benefit of Daily Rituals

~The Importance of a Daily Routine & How to Create One You Love, episode #164

Petit Plaisir:

~Chilled Cucumber and Yogurt Soup with Dill and Fresh Mint, a Patricia Wells recipe, click here for the recipe

~Why Not . . . Grow a(n) Herb Garden?

~Check out TSLL’s IG account, see the Highlights and Part 3 of my FR Trip ’18 – mid-roll to see the presentation of the dish in Provence.

~Chilled Cucumber and Yogurt Soup with Dill and Fresh Mint, enjoyed in Provence with Patricia Wells and the other cooking class students during the summer of 2018~

~the same dish served this past weekend as the second course during a dinner party at my home. Cool and crisp cucumber and yogurt soup.~



10 thoughts on “255: 34 Inspiring Daily Rituals to Ignite Your Creativity

  1. Very interesting podcast, Shannon. Thank you. Routine is something I need to work on. Are you by any chance going to be doing any book-signings in Oregon between July 20 and August 22? I’m returning for five weeks (from my home in France) and would like to come to a book signing if you are doing any. Merci!

    1. Anna,

      Thank you for checking in. While I do not have any book signing scheduled during this time, if you visit Bend, I have signed copies arc Roundabout Books and Studio Vero. Thank you for tuning into this week’s podcast.

  2. Shannon, I’m always amazed at the way I find exactly what I need to hear on your site. Just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your philosophy and worldview.

  3. Have you seen the “Murder In” TV series. I just found it and am loving it. It is on MHZ television, available through Amazon. Set in different small towns around France.

  4. I’m so happy I found you ! You inspire so many beautiful things in me. I have been on the search for myself for so long not knowing what I’m meant to o, what speaks to my soul and here you are confirming each day to me that I’m a creative mind! Thank youu Shannon really, keep spreading joy. Your podcasts have been my morning companion for over 6 months now. Thank you again!!

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