Friday, April 10, 2009

HOW ARE YOU DOING? The Chapter of Faults

Spiritual Walk
Originally uploaded by StuffEyeSee
In the monastic tradition, Friday is traditionally the day for the unflinching self-assessment known as the Chapter of Faults.

"Failures" are admitted simply and honestly. No excuses are asked for, and none are given. Though I doubt I'd survive long in a monastic community, this practice, and the implied invitation to begin again have always appealed to me.

Of the five disciplines, going to bed at ten and being at my desk within 30 minutes after rising were the most productive for me. I adhered to them quite strictly--until tonight, when I've declared a bit of a holiday.

"Nulla dies sine linea" was also empowering. (I've even been chanting it, thanks to a suggestion from Karen DeGroot Carter!) Even on a day when I had to be out of town, and had no serious writing hours, I still opened up my work in progress and wrote one line (literally.) It didn't do much to move the story forward, but it kept it in the forefront of my subconscious, and reinforced my commitment. I WILL write every day

I was less consistent in my promise to be out of my pajamas and dressed for the day before I began writing. Carleen Brice might be right when she called it writers' heresy! But I haven't given up on it yet.

Most difficult of all was disciplining my use of the internet. I even tried using the program Freedom (recently featured on Salon), which shuts off the connection for one to eight hours. But after it crashed my computer twice, I'm back to relying on my own wavering will power--that and the sense of momentum a good writing week brings.

So on Monday we begin again with four new disciplines and Chapter on Friday. When I originally conceived this blog, I thought the 100 days would be consecutive, but I'm now envisioning weekends off from the blog--but not from the essential commitment.

Nulla dies sine linea.

Happy Easter and Passover to all.


  1. I am trying to focus on the creative spirit and acceptance. I've been listening to Tuvan throat singers ( and I have discovered that as soon as I begin listening, I go into a state of focus and relaxation.

  2. Hi Patry,
    I too found limiting the internet to be the hardest.

    word count for this morning: 1,838 words.

  3. debra: Very cool link! Focus and relaxation are what it's all about!

    mercedes: You're putting me to shame, woman! (And I love it!)

  4. You too! sorry the easter bunny and i can't make it.

  5. Patry, I found this via Facebook (see, these things work!) and it's such a timely blog for me. I am pushing to finish a revision of my new book and it's been a tough go due to a variety of distractions. I've been inspired daily through the week and will be right here with you, trying to finish my book and better my process. Thank you!

    Oh, and now on to the Faults:
    Well, I had faults everywhere--bedtime, writing within 30 minutes, internet (terrible trouble!) and yesterday I didn't write a line.


  6. r: Missed you guys today.

    Danielle: I've seriously fallen off the wagon this weekend--especially with the early bedtime, but plan to get back on track tonight. I'm so glad Facebook "worked" and brought you here. "Onward" is the word!

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  8. Hope you had a wonderful Easter with the family, Patry! I took the (long) weekend off too and am now catching up with you. Two days of solid work and I'm feeling inspired! Will try to stick to that one line on off days from now on...Nulla dies sine linea...and thanks for the link! :)

  9. K: I took the weekend off, too. Though I admire writers like S. KIng, Dickens, et al who can work through holidays, illnes, personal disaster, and earthquake, I still get distracted by colored eggs and playing with the kids in thes back yard. Back on track this week though. Nulla dies sine linea!