Philip Deal Books

The Art of the Sacred (part 2 of 4): FINDING SACRED SPACE


We have an arrangement in our house. If the door is closed, it means I’m writing but it’s okay to knock if something really urgent comes up. If I’ve also hung the Do Not Disturb sign, better not knock unless your injury is so severe it will be hard to dial 911 by yourself. Here are some things that are NOT exceptions to the rule regarding my Sacred Space:

We knocked because a delivery requires your signature (that’s why they leave we’ll try again notes).

We knocked because the school’s on the phone (that’s what answering machines are for).

We knocked because we can’t seem to remember where we put the peanut butter and crackers.

Knocking for any other reason you can think of.

Sacred space is so important that until you find a way to say my writing is more important than… (everything) you’re going to have a hard time finishing anything, because there are all sorts of worthy adversaries clamoring for your attention. The beauty of finding a sacred space is that once you have it set up, you’ll know the rules about what intrusions are allowed, and so will everyone else. Having a sacred space says This is mine, that is yours, and all the rest is ours. Or to paraphrase the late Swiss writer, Hughley Ericcson: Having a sacred space means sitting in one particular chair in one particular room, for the same reason you sat there yesterday – To write

I certainly have known writers who can write anywhere, and I have done my fair share of writing in spaces that are anything but sacred, but if you read Part I of this mini-series on the sacred you can probably predict what I’m going to say about that: Variety may be the spice of life, but until you have established a solid habit of productive writing you should probably be searching for rules, not exceptions. When you get to page 300, or you’ve written 300 poems, you may be able to write anywhere. Until then…

  1. Find yourself a Sacred Space and claim it.
  2. Get everyone you love to agree to the rules regarding your Sacred Space.
  3. Sit in your Sacred Space during your Sacred Time (see Part I).
  4. Do your Sacred Thing, during your Sacred Time, in your Sacred Space.
  5. When you reach page 300, or finish poem 300, email me at philipdealbooks.com and I’ll give you a shout out.



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