A few weeks ago I went to the AWP Conference in Denver and attended a session all about the "Sacred" art of writing. I wasn't quite sure what to expect--something spiritual or religious, maybe involving yoga? What I found was a panel of writers who simply talked about their writing practice--when and where they get it done.
So I looked up the word sacred, and in addition to those religious connotations that I always associated with the word, it also simply means "devoted exclusively to one service or use (as of a person or purpose)." Not quite as glamorous, perhaps, but distinctly more functional.
I decided, of course, that I needed a Sacred Practice and I needed it right away. I had an assortment of multicolumn lists and priorities for finishing projects that pay the bills, and big dreams of finding a cool planner on sale since the year is almost half over only to find that they actually make 18-month ones that start in July so I'm actually a month early and everything is still full price.... sigh*
Amidst all this impending chaos I wanted to set something straight--I could not lose sight of the one thing that I really want to be doing, which is writing my stories, whether those take the form of short stories, novels, or essays. And I believe it was Mark Twain who said 'write for free until someone pays you to write.' I'm definitely still in that writing for free stage, but without the practice I'm not likely to make it to the point where someone wants to pay me to do it.
Thus, my very own sacred practice is born--2.5 hours that at the moment I'm setting aside in the mornings. It could just as effectively be done at night, or even in the middle of the day, I suppose, but at the moment it works best to start the day with it. I begin with a half-hour of free writing, by hand, in a journal. I use a timer for each section (recall Jenny Sundstedt's recent post), which allows me to just keep writing without feeling any need to check the clock. I follow that with one hour of writing and/or revising my stories. And the hour after that is devoted to blogging--writing my own and reading others'.
The rest of my schedule can change day to day depending on what other work I need to do, but I think all of that will fall into place as long as I keep my sacred time sacred. It may not pertain to anyone's religion, but I can definitely see it as a spiritual practice--checking in daily with my muses as well as my attitude.
What does your sacred practice look like?