Six daily rituals (illustrated).

Warning: this post is pure process porn.

The last time I talked with my editor, I told him I wanted a school bell app for my iPhone. That way, I could set up all my daily activities in discrete time intervals, like in grade school. It was so easy then! When the bell went off, it didn’t matter what I was doing, I had to put down the math worksheet, put away the coloring, go on to the next class, sit down, and re-set my brain.

He made a noise that roughly translated to why in God’s name would you do that to yourself. 

Maybe because I’m a discipline freak?

This is drafting time. I’m pouring the foundation of the house. It takes a lot of discipline. At present, I have six daily rituals. If I do four out of the six—two of which have to be (1) and (2)—I count it a successful day. See? You thought I was cruel and exacting toward myself. Au contraire. I am fair and beneficent.

(1) Morning pages. Two pages of stream of consciousness. It’s summer, so I do them out on my balcony in my underwear and hope that none of the passersby on the sidewalk below can see me.


(2) A thousand words of the new novel. Sometimes it feels like I’m giving birth to angels. Sometimes it feels like I’m vomiting up yesterday’s breakfast.


(3) Gym. Or as I like to call it, my daily gender performance. My goal is to increase my butt several cup sizes.

gym rat

(4) A half hour of Spanish translation. Recently I had a conversation with my friend Fernando at the gym, who doesn’t speak English, but I could make myself understood in a very limited way, and it felt batshit amazing.


(5) A half hour of research reading. Here’s the current stack. It’s like my compost bin of ideas, fermenting.


(6) A half hour of pleasure reading, often with a Bloody Mary at Motorco. I just finished The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. It was annoying as hell and I loved it.


And sometimes I see friends.

And sometimes I see lovers.

And sometimes I go out on my balcony to throw pieces of bread to the birdies on my roof.

There is a time for everything under the sun.

9 Comments on “Six daily rituals (illustrated).”

  1. Marian Ronan says:

    This one’s great, Monica. I may print it out and glue it to my wall.

  2. redd says:

    Really, really like this post. Thank you.

  3. Reblogged this on laughter in between and commented:
    Breaking my blog silence to repost this gem by Monica. I love her and everything she writes is holy aaaahhhh

  4. Julie E. Byrne says:

    I loved this post & illustrations, Monique!

    omg, you are so MAB with the bloody Marys! I love them too :-D.

    I love disciplines too!

    I have not been able to do bells and hours for a long time. except one, to get up early on school days to bookwork before class prep. usually the discipline is trust that I am sufficiently obsessed with creativity, vanity, good food and productivity that all activities get done in all the right proportions every day. this is not necessarily a good thing-obsession! compulsion!-but the trust to rely on it is indeed a discipline! lolol …

  5. […] I loved this post by the writer Monica Byrne in which she shares her current six daily rituals. Byrne writes: […]

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