The Greeks knew a thing or two. What they were most adept at was appropriation of ideas from other cultures and branding them Greek. Like an ancient Readers’ Digest, their culture celebrated what was most actionable and salient. So if I’m mulling over a problem, the Classics are a great place for me to start the inspirational process.
And what is the perennial problem of all creatives?
Why Life/Work Balance of course. Oh, but then there is also the Creative Production v Business Balance. Oh, now we have Social Media and Platform Building that doesn’t quite fit into the hard and fast categories so extolled by the Greeks. Is it business? Yes, because it’s marketing. Is it research? Well yes, that too. How about production? Guess there’s a little of that involved too.
And now, where were we? Poof! Focus gone. Goals out the window.
Because here’s the secret the Greeks knew as well.
Creativity isn’t about the perfect balance. It’s about The Creative Tension. It’s about a regularity that drives a rhythm that is dynamic. By definition, a dynamic is out of balance. It’s about harmony as forces respond in the moment. It’s about constructing a structure that is both durable and flexible as expressed in architecture the Greeks created and later Romans perfected.
The nautilus is a magical creature. An honorable specimen for Greek inspiration. Unlike other seashelled creatures, it does not go through stages of vulnerability by molting one shell to take on another as it grows. Their specially designed shell can serve its owner for more than 20 years of creative growth. Adapting to the needs of the squid-like creature within, empty rooms that housed the main body once outgrown become chambers for air and water allowing a controlled variable of buoyancy.
That’s the kind of quality I want for my writerly life. Secure. Flexible. Creative. Dynamic. Ingenuous. And let’s face it…astonishingly beautiful.
So now that I’m thoroughly inspired, how do I replicate the magic? How did the Greeks go from inspiration to metaphoric application in the real world?
Their tool of analysis? Mathematics.
Look familiar? Oh, yeah! It’s all over the mathematical universe. No doubt lifted from their arch enemies the Phoenicians as much as from Greek origin. And of course, it comes to us by way of Arabic scholars who kept the flame of learning alive during Europe’s Darker Age. The old a-squared plus b-squared equal c-squared of the Pythagorean Theorem. The pentagram of Pythagorean Secret Society. It represented a structured dynamic creative process. An adaptable constant in an ever-changing river of life. It was symbolized by the Greek letter phi in mathematical equations.
To Infinity…And Beyond
So how do I apply such highfalutin Classical concepts to my daily writing life? By remembering it’s all about proportionality. The goal is flow not balance. I want to stay somewhere on this side of static inertia and that side of utter chaos. I want creative flow.
Lara’s Rule of Phi or Give It Your 62%
Using the Golden Ratio Spiral as my oracle, I ask a question.
- How many hours a week am I prepared to work toward my writerly career?
- approx. 60 hours leaving 108 hours for non-writerly related stuff (sleep/hygiene=70, 38=other)
So applying that to the Golden Ratio Spiral. a=other & b=writerly work. I feel more refreshed already. Plus I thought I was being pretty generous with that whole 10 hours of sleep/bath stuff…and I still have nearly the equivalent of a normal work week at my disposal.
I know my bank account is not flush nor is my house that clean. So where is the time going if I’m not being this productive already?
Goal #1: Track how my time next week is really spent starting Monday, Dec 3rd at 12:01 am Hawaiian Time.
Ready for the next Golden Ratio Spiral ask the oracle question? Of course, you are.
- How much of the 60 hours of writerly time is going be devoted to…ahem…writing?
- approx. 20 hours. Yep, I’m reaching for “b” again. That’s a whopping 40 hours of other writerly goodness.
But that’s butt-in-the-chair writing I’m talking about. Not researching. Not FaceBooking. Not interviewing. Not taking a meeting. Not answering emails. Not reading books or blogs on how to write. Not even playing Lexulous. 20 hours of pure content creation. Yep, not even editing. Serious vomit draft writing.
Goal #2: Spend 20 hours writing vomit draft content starting Monday, Dec 3rd at 12:01 am Hawaiian Time.
Final ask the oracle query coming up…for this week at least.
- How much of the remaining 40 hours is allotted to non-reading activities?
- approx. 15 hours. That would be “b” yet again. 25 hours for reading…my Achilles heel.
What this means of course is that if I want to do more reading, it will have to come out of the non-work category. I will have to dock some sleep or other activities to get more reading done. Flexible, yet still making sure I get serious about what really counts. Submissions.
Goal #3: I will spend a portion of my 15 hours of business time getting something out the door starting Monday, Dec 3rd at 12:01 am Hawaiian Time.
Well, I think three is a charm. So I will stop with that and record how it’s going in the comment section below. Stay tuned for next weekend when we will shake the bones and rattle the shells once again to ask the Oracle of the Golden Mean Spiral “What is the secret to writerly success?”
Do you struggle with life balance issues? Have you conquered your time sucks? What’s your secret? What’s your story? Leave us a comment below. Curious about how I finished out the month of November? My final count was just over 30,000…which ironically enough registers at approximately 62%. The Golden Mean. I’ll consider that a win for my first time as a participant. How did your WriMo go?
*Unless otherwise noted, all photos are either my own or attribution-free from stock.xchng.com