by Cathy Baker

I LOVE structure. 

In fact, it’s a necessary component to my day. And apparently I’m not alone. 

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, Cynthia Owens is currently helping me structure my time wisely. One book she mentioned early on was Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals…How Artists Work. 

In it, you’ll find rituals from over two hundred artists including writers, composers, filmmakers, scientists, poets, philosophers, sculptors, choreographers, etc. I couldn’t put it down!

Although the rituals of Jane Austin, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, and Stephen King are all fascinating, today I’m shining the spotlight on Jonathan Edwards, the eighteenth-century preacher and theologian. 

He spent thirteen hours a day in his study, beginning at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. (He noted in his diary, “I think Christ has recommended rising early in the morning, by his rising from the grave very early.”) To break up these long hours he would do some type of physical activity but my favorite tidbit? For horseback rides, he employed a mnemonic device as described by his biographer George W. Marsden: “For each insight he wished to remember, he would pin a small piece of paper on a particular part of his clothes, which he would associate with the thought. When he returned home he would unpin these and write down each idea. At the ends of trips of several days, his clothes might be covered by quite a few of these slips of paper.”

Now, I’m not a fan of the word ritual but I admit the tapping sound from my shoes on our century old steps signal my brain it’s time to write. By the time I climb the stairs to my writing nook, I’m ready for my fingertips to do the tapping instead of my shoes. (A subject covered in Rebecca Livermore’s, Blogger’s Quick Guide to Writing Rituals and Routines.)

Do you thrive with structure or do you prefer a looser approach to your day? I love how God uses us all. Can you imagine how boring it would be if we all enjoyed hearing the tapping of our shoes on wooden steps? 

Most of life is routine — dull and grubby, but routine is the momentum that keeps a man going. If you wait for inspiration you’ll be standing on the corner after the parade is a mile down the street. – Ben Nicholas