A Daily Mise-En-Place
Your Behind The Scenes Peek at My Daily, Kitchen Inspired Writing Routine
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As a writer, people often ask about my daily routine and work habits. Their faces become filled with intrigue when they discover the system I use every morning beginning at 4:00 am.
Interestingly enough, it is derived from a system used for decades by chefs in many of the world-class culinary locales in the world. The system known as mise-en-place is the subject of a book known as “Work Clean — What Great Chefs Can Teach Us About Organization” by Dan Charnas.
This fascinating read serves up a full course meal on the core philosophy and comprehensive work system used by top-flight chefs and their kitchens. This video offers a brief look at the mise-en-place of habits, systems, and routines used in the kitchen world.
Upon reading the book over five years ago, I created my own tailor made writing system that was inspired by the three primary universal values of working clean:
Preparation — Akin to an elite chef who has all of the necessary ingredients of a food dish ready to go, I ensure that there is an organization and structure to my writing process before I begin. My mantra here is to never commence my writing activity until I have all of the basic narrative elements structured, outlined, and in place.
Process — For me, this step involves the actual process of writing an article. With the piece properly organized, it’s a process that typically takes no more than 90-minutes to complete. The end result is a 800-1,200 word article that’s ready for the final step.
Presence — I call this my clean up stage. Having reached a deep state of flow, I am now at a place where I can delightfully edit, dust, and deliver the final finishing touches on the article (the garnish as they would say in the culinary world). It’s at this point I can share the piece with the “Great Books, Great Minds” global community of readers.
As author Dan Charnas describes in the Work Clean book:
“Presence manifests as focus and commitment, turning work into a form of meditation. When sitting, just sit. When cooking, just cook. Care for nothing but the work when you work.”
So just like chefs who create an effortless flow in the kitchen, my mornings are structured to create ease in my writing activities.
Until next time, stay hungry for a great book
If you like Work Clean, you’ll like these two books
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
The Inner Game of Golf by W. Timothy Gallway