Photo by José EncarnaçãoDuff left a thoughtful comment on my post about creative rituals, highlighting a potential danger of incorporating ritual into your creative process:
the yin to the yang of ritual anchors is pure novelty. Bradford Keeney is a strong advocate of creative living by shaking up habitual routines and rituals. There is definitely something to this argument as well.
Ideally the ritual functions as a gateway to the magical realm of the imagination – but what if it descends into a mindless routine?
Gustave Flaubert advised artists to ‘be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work’. But Lou is regular and orderly in everything he does, and no-one would describe his work as violent and original.
So what’s the difference between a creative ritual and a mundane routine?
Here are some answers that occur to me – I’d love to hear what you think.
Mundane routines produce mundane work. Creative rituals produce remarkable work.
Mundane routines make life dull and predictable. Creative rituals make life rich and rewarding.
Mundane routines are often imposed from the outside. Creative rituals emerge from inside.
Mundane routines kill time. Creative rituals take you to a timeless place.
Mundane routines keep you busy. Creative rituals make you productive.
Mundane routines are a distraction, a kind of procrastionation. Creative rituals force you push through resistance and get on with your real work.
Mundane routines are a coping mechanism. Creative rituals help you rise to life’s challenges.
What Do You Think?
What’s the difference between a creative ritual and an empty routine?
How do you avoid mundane routines in your work?
About the Author: Mark McGuinness is a poet and creative coach.