Daily Rituals

I’m reading a book called Daily rituals: How Artists Workby Mason Currey.
In the book, Mason takes 161 creative people (writers, painters, mathematicians, playwrights, song writers) and writes about their creative daily rituals. He used extensive research and ended up with a very informative and highly entertaining book. I’m reading it like a devotional. One artist per day. It’s crazy how different the details of each creative person’s life varies. From sloth to excessive workaholics. From early risers (3:00 a.m.) to those who only worked after midnight. I’d highly recommend this book!

In the meantime, I’m also paying attention to my own (new) daily rituals. My life has changed significantly with the kiddos moving out and it’s taken two months to start to feel at home again, to find myself, to embrace the new quiet. Right now, I’m concentrating on the following areas.

Writing – new writing in the new book with my new computer


This is the first thing I do in the morning after coffee and journal writing. It’s when I’m freshest and can concentrate the best. I put in two hours of steady writing, then break for half an hour, then back to the book for another hour or two. I’ve been averaging 1,000 word days which makes me really happy.

Dutch Language Study

Capture Babble

Since my next book is set in the Netherlands, I’m studying Dutch again. It’s crazy all the resources that are available since I last tried to learn a language!

I’m going on the internet and watching the Dutch Children’s News program NOS Jeugdjournaal and listening to podcasts in Dutch!

There are audio books at “Books Should Be Free” Dutch with corresponding text.

There are Dutch kids stories on YouTube with Dutch subtitles.

There’s Babble. 

And On my phone? Great Dutch language apps including Duolingo, Vocabulary Trainer and Fun Easy Learn. This past weekend I skyped with my sister-in-law. And I didn’t do too badly, well, at least I don’t think I did.

And when all is said and done, I can ask my husband. It’s one of the benefits of a cross-cultural marriage, a cross-cultural life. He lives right here! He’s a native speaker. The only problem is that he hasn’t lived in the Netherlands for twenty some years. So all that new tech? He has no idea what it’s called. I mean, what would you call a cell phone?


IMG_20160114_101714127 (2)

I’m doing research on family in the Netherlands during WWII. I have a journal written by Great-Uncle Wes when he was a Dutch sailor in the 1930s and 40s. It’s hand written in a gorgeous cursive. A book he made for his father and filled with pictures from various ports of call.  I’ve got old photos and tons of letters. It’s slow slogging. Many of the resources are in Dutch and well beyond my ability. I’m driving my hubby crazy at night. What does this mean? How do you say? Do you remember?



There is always business to do. Every day. This past week I spoke to about twenty men and women at the Christ the King Lutheran Church Book Club. It was fun and they asked a lot of great questions. We shared coffee. My business day includes answering emails, blogging, mailing out books that are ordered, keeping track of sales, Twitter, keeping up with the industry,  reading about book awards & publication & trying to stay smart at my job. It’s research and study and keeping records. Paying taxes (Okay, my hubby does that one!)

I’m also preparing for upcoming events: this week? The Red Raven. Laughing Girl’s HERStory.  Thursday night. 7:00. Jessica Lindsley has given me ten to twenty minutes to read.  COOL! Now, what to read?


Capture, Robert Joyner Art.

To get a break from all the mind-numbing think, think, think, I am taking an art course. Semi-abstract mixed media: acrylic, ink, charcoal, crayon. The course is taught by the wonderful artist Robert Joyner and it’s all online. I love his style and art and have never done mixed media. So, why not? I built an easel out of an old ladder, ordered a few supplies, and I’m sloshing paint around when I’m brain dead. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not.



And the rest of the story? Same as yours most likely: laundry, cooking, cleaning, fill the car with gas. Pick up books at the library, do banking, make supper, listen to a podcast or watch a TV show now and then.

Go for a walk with the family. 

That’s my daily. So far, so good. At 1,000 words a day, I hope to get that next book starting to shape up by the end of 2016. That’s the plan.

In once sense it feels like a far away goal, impossible. But it’s not. It’s just the daily slog, the do the writing today, and today, and today. And in the end, it all adds up. 

Need some inspiration at the beginning of 2016? Check out Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals. It’s a great read!

Jill Kandel
  • Kelly Greer
    Posted at 15:51h, 18 January Reply

    Thanks for sharing your daily ritual with us. I am trying to muster up the grit to get one myself. This book idea sounds wonderful. I think I will bite. Of course I still have so many lovely books to sit with. Since you mentioned mixed media, you should check out my friend Kel Rohlf. She teaches monthly mixed media art journaling classes here locally and she is doing a really fun project this year. Adding one element per day to a large canvas. It is an amazing thing to witness and a lesson in the dailiness of life and it’s value. I will send you a link. I love the Dutch language and am excited to read your story.

  • Ingrid Lochamire
    Posted at 07:50h, 19 January Reply

    You inspire me, Jill. You are one of the most “intentional” women I’ve ever met, and I’m encouraged by your example to be a little (okay, a lot) more intentional myself. “Daily Rituals” sounds wonderful. I love reading about how other creatives do the work of creating. “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” was a winning recommendation, so I’m betting “Daily Rituals” will be just as satisfying. Blessings on your writing project!!

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 08:39h, 19 January Reply

      Hi Ingrid! I’m glad you liked Tidying Up. It’s been one of those change my life books. I really enjoy seeing how creative people work and flow. It’s not really taught in school. I learned how to be a good nurse, how to write a five paragraph essay, how to play dodge ball. But no one taught me how to live a creative life. SO GLAD to have others paving the way.

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