Many of the best books on writing, and pretty much every book on dreaming, recommend establishing a daily practice.
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, and Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande, both propose the idea of ‘morning pages’ – setting aside half an hour first thing in the morning to write stream-of-consciousness, before your mind gets distracted by the mundane concerns of the day.
The wonderful Writing down the Bones, by Nathalie Goldberg, develops this idea, comparing writing with Buddhist meditation practice.
The daily practice approach focuses on the process of writing rather than the products. It’s not instead of your books and stories, but as well; it’s the seed-bed from which your finished creative pieces grow.
In the same way, writing down any dreams and dream fragments you remember upon waking isn’t just about big dreams and insights – it’s about deepening your awareness of the continuous dream-life that runs parallel with your life in the dayworld.
As with morning pages, you have to set aside value judgements and simply write, whatever comes, because that’s how you find and develop the authentic writer or dreamer that you are.
Betty Edwards, in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, says it doesn’t make any difference what you do – the point of any daily practice is the experience of ‘flow.’ Knitting, jogging and gardening are all a form of meditation, as are writing and other creative activities.
Anything in which you are able to lose yourself and the world, will change and enrich your life, and doing it every day makes this out-of-time experience part of you; it grounds you in something bigger than yourself.
Do you have a daily practice? What are its benefits in your life?