Thursday, October 2, 2014

simplicity through structure || time

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. 
-Annie Dilliard

When I was looking for a new apartment a few years ago, my litmus test included dishwasher, driveway, and washing machine. Simple then meant automatic, a hands-free approach to daily chores. 

Now, my next home must have space for chickens. Instead of fast-forwarding, I yearn to slow down for the country pace of hard work. 

I want to be a morning person.

To know that my day depends on starting to work now.

Grace Bonney, in an episode of her podcast After the Jump, describes this as "breaking the seal" - that the act of starting is almost always the most difficult part. Despite my intention to wake up before the sun and write, I convince myself that I don't know where to start. There is simplicity in structuring my time. Instead of wrestling with the decision to start, I am already at my desk because it's time to write. As Anne Lamott writes in Bird by Bird, "I don't think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won't be good enough at it" (page 170). 

Structure simplifies. The task is to write, to write steadily for a period of time. Time boundaries afford a sense of purpose. No one but me can hold me accountable - there are no hungry chickens waiting for me if I simply don't feel like working some mornings. 

The simplicity of structure will hold me accountable, and I must accept the truth that I am enough - I mustn't let me down.

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