Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Writing Tuesday

And here it is, another Tuesday. For those of you new to my blog - I have been getting together once a week for over ten years to write with a friend, Gwen. Our usual routine is to chat a bit, make coffee and then settle down with our computers and work on whatever we are currently engaged in. We use the mytomatoes.com site to write in 25 minute sprints with five minute breaks to stretch, get more coffee etc... Then at noon, we take Hoagy and ourselves for a walk in the woods. We eat some wonderful stuff that we cobble together and usually that is it. I'm off every second week to see the grandkids and Gwen has writing classes to prepare for. The discipline of this is a wonderful thing. When one of us is out of town or engaged in something that needs our every day attention - the other feels bereft - or I should say I do! We both endeavor to write every day but this is the cornerstone of our practice. Occasionally, throughout the years, we have managed retreats of two, three or four days -we go off to someones cabin and write our little hearts out. I love that time - so indulgent - but this steady practice is the real deal. Just ordinary magic.

I am becoming a great believer in small changes for big effect. My friend, Annie, recently gave me a book called One Small Step Can Change Your Life - The Kaizen Way  by Robert Maurer- and I'm really liking it. One of the reasons that I do is because I already live my life by many of its principles! After all, wisdom is wisdom, and I have been studying the mind as a Buddhist, a psychotherapist, a writer and most importantly, as a human, for many decades.

The Kaizen Way is a Japanese technique of achieving great and lasting success through small steady steps. Using it, we trick the amygdala (the part of our brain that holds the 'flight or fight response') to accept change by making the change so small that it goes under its radar. Instead of sudden bursts of change that are radical and sweeping (I'm going to give up all sugar, wheat and dairy!) that lasts for awhile and then stops (I'm going to have a margarita and a loaf of bread) one makes small changes until the path is well worn. I think my one of three is like that - all very tricksy.  I'll share with you any techniques that help with writing obstacles as we go along.

That's it for today. Do you have a steady small practice in your writing that assists you to your goals? Please share or tell me what you think of these ideas. I love your comments!

10 comments:

Liz P said...

Sounds like you have a great day with Gwen - encouraging each other to focus and write, partaking in delicious food and even get some exercise in. I like that!

I'm interested in hearing more about applying Kaizen to our personal lives. Kaizen is also a improvement technique used in manufacturing, which is how I'm familiar with it. I look forward to your posts on the topic!

Siv Maria said...

You are so lucky that you have a friend you can share your interests and ideas with. Feeling secluded and alone is not ideal. I am very interested in hearing more about Kaizen. I have never heard of this before but it sounds fascinating.

Liza said...

I think my blog is my steady small practice...

sue said...

I love the description that the small change goes under the radar. I guess it's the same as the neuroscientists saying you build new neural pathways and strengthen them with use. I've got a book voucher, maybe that's the book I'll buy!

Tina Laurel Lee said...

That sounds like a beautiful day! I love it. "Just ordinary magic." That has been my thing lately trying to cultivate the ordinary. I may have to try some version of this. In my class we pick words and share our timed writing. Which works well for making the writing fun and noticing our patterns. But this sounds delicious just enough discipline to get stuff done along with the comfort and appeal and accountability of someone to share it with.

Tara Tyler said...

i think i already use the kaizan way, tho not on purpose. i can only get small pieces done at a time with all of life's interruptions!
nice post =)

Dorte H said...

It must be wonderful to have a writing friend near you. All my writing friends are people I know via my blog, and apart from the published writers I have just met at CrimeFest in Bristol, I have never seen any of them in real life.

Clarissa Draper said...

I can't write or edit in large chunks. I can't sit at my computer and just write for hours. I don't have the time and my family expects me to leave my room and do their laundry and cook and clean and talk to them. So, I break both tasks into smaller tasks and it really works for me.

Words A Day said...

I think the magpies challanges I write on my blog are work a little like that..I write them even when I dont feel like writing, even when i dislike the prompt picture. They've no over all purpose, they dont fit into wider goals, and they're fun. I like the sound of that book, i'm a terror for declaring big goals and falling, thanks for the title and enjoy your writing day!

Uri Sheinbaum said...

So it really is all about the baby steps. I knew that was more than just a cliche. I've tried to make small changes in my life, people I surround myself with, hobbies I have, things I eat. I think it's all a balancing act of them all to truly be happy.