The Discipline of Rest

Rest is part of the creative rhythm. We are designed to rest, to take a break from the Work in order to be creative.

The Discipline of Rest
"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy." - Exodus 20:8

I've been writing every day since I've started this website. The goal for me is clear, to cultivate a writing habit by writing for 100 days straight. At the same time, I'm keeping myself accountable in public by making it my one habit I'm cultivating through James Clear's 30 Days to Better Habits course.

I have been tweeting it for accountability and perhaps to invite others to contribute to my learning and progress.

One area he talked about is the forming of Identity-based habits, which is the idea that in order to make habits stick, you change your identity around what you believe about that habit.

With an identity-based approach, we start by focusing on who we wish to become, not what we want to achieve. Who is the type of person you want to become? What is one habit that casts a small vote for becoming that type of person?

My answer to the question in full. “I’m the type of person who writes daily and is consistent with keeping my promise. If I miss a day, I will begin again the next day and start a new streak.”

Me writing every day is casting a vote for becoming that kind of person. So, I am going to be sticking to this no matter what.

A daily uphill battle

As with any new endeavor, you start with huge amounts of energy. That helps you get things moving, building momentum as you charge along.

But you will reach a decisive point where the hill creeps up steadily. The incline makes it harder to run, walking is the only option. You start questioning yourself, do I really want to do this? Maybe I should just give up and turn back? I'll try again tomorrow.

That's exactly the point you need to keep going.

Changing your beliefs is really about rethinking your beliefs, pushing back against the false beliefs or self-doubts you have had. Nothing great is ever achieved without some sort of worldview shift.

As with any epic journey, the days are long, the legs are weary and the body tired.

But it will be worth it.

Rest as part of the creative rhythm

I came across a tweet of Austin Kleon's that led me back to his blog about "I am no longer weakened by the weekend". His conclusion is that artists need rest from the work, and he observes this himself by first starting to have good ol fashioned weekends.

It helps that my week sort of climaxes with the Friday morning newsletter. Once that’s out, I spend Friday clearing the decks, cleaning my office, answering letters and email, and winding down. The weekend begins with Friday night pizza and a movie with the boys.

We are designed to rest.

Creative work is an output of the mind. The mind is built for rest, that's why we sleep each night. That's why after a long focused period of creative work we find ourselves drained. In fact, the rest from the Work helps us do better Work.

Rest needs to be part of the creative rhythm. I remind myself this as I continue my daily writing, even as the only time I can write seems to be late at night. The honest truth is I'm sleeping less now because of my commitment to myself, but I need to also spend more quality time resting on the weekends.

As tomorrow is Sunday, I'm taking it easy and enjoying my rest.