31 Days · creative habit · Jewelry

31 Days: Creative Habit – Day 7: Ritual

Today feels uninspired. I’m feeling very behind on lots of different things. I know I should put the kids to bed and get to work on a project, but there is so much on my to-do list right now, I just feel like I can’t.

So I sit down with my email to sort it out. An hour later I emerge, and I have no project to show. Nap time is not over yet, but there’s not enough time to finish my skirt or start something really AMAZING. And I really can’t think of what I want to do.


So I sit down with Twyla and reread the first two chapters. Simple brilliance. In the first chapter, she talks about Mozart being an amazing composer, but he was also a really hard worker.

In the second chapter, focusing on rituals, she gives examples of creative people who start their creative days with an act – something tangible that is repeated daily to get creativity flowing. For dancers, it might be practicing positions, for others, it might be playing scales or even just lighting a candle.

It’s kind of like, when I sit down to write a blog post, I start with photos. I download a hundred or more photos, and then I sift through them, finding my favorites, cropping and tweaking here and there, until I have the photos that tell the story in pictures. Then I tell the story in words.

When I think about what I really love to create, it’s jewelry. I love sewing, I love refashioning pieces of clothing into something beautiful and functional for me. But I adore making jewelry. And the equivalent of a dancer practicing positions for making jewelry, at least for me, is twisting some wire.


So for today, when I feel totally blocked on what I really want to create, I decide to simply practice my skills. I get out my tools and some wire, and I make loops.


Over and over again. I don’t have a beautiful piece to show at the end, but it calms my anxiety about not having an idea, and it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something – practicing a skill that will be useful in creating what I love.

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This post is part of a 31 day series. Find all the posts in this series here.

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11 thoughts on “31 Days: Creative Habit – Day 7: Ritual

  1. Great post! Really inspiring. It makes me want to sit down at my piano with a fresh blank page in my song writing journal, light a candle, and just play and write. I sadly remember that we don’t currently own an upright. Time to search craigslist :)

    1. I’ve been thinking about it as it relates to other things, too – things I procrastinate about, particularly. If I could just find something to “plug me in” to whatever task I have, I think it would be a lot easier.

  2. Yeah, I definitely read nearly every one of these, but I didn’t leave any trail to show you I’d been by. I’d like to say I hope 2014 is as awesome, but that’s not fair. You don’t want the trap of trying to top each year, you want to relax and enjoy wherever the ride takes you.

    My creative inspiration lately is the Phillippe Petit book that I mention here towards the bottom. I intend to write more about it in my 31 Days in 2014. I do want to get the Twyla Tharp back out. I haven’t read it for several years and had forgotten how good it was until I was browsing your posts.



      1. You’re welcome. Its easy to get caught up in trying to outperform each year and that’s no fun. If you’re a professional designer, you need to outperform. But for the rest of us, we want to enjoy our lives and our passions. I love my photography, but since it doesn’t pay the bills, I do it for the enjoyment of it. Which would make a good post in my 31 Day challenge, wouldn’t it? Hmm. . .



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