Wednesday, April 20, 2011

R is for...

Routine.

One of the ways that I was finally able to buckle down and start writing was to develop a routine. Mine had to extend to a routine for my daughter in the morning so she was happy to come downstairs with me to get to work. I was surprised at how agreeable she was after we had play time together. We would have breakfast, she would watch Caillou (a cartoon), we would have play time together and when I'd announce it was time to go down to my office for work, she was ready to go. We'd go pick some toys for her to bring in with us and I would get her settled in my office at a special table and chair I put in there for her, along with a snack and her water bottle.

As far as me, I'd spend Caillou checking email and Facebook and such. Then I'd get a giant mug of water and a small snack for myself, and we'd head downstairs. Once I could settle in at my desk, I'd boot up the computer, put on the music I'd chosen for that specific story and rub some lovely aromatherapy lotion from Bath and Body Works into my hands. I think it's rosemary mint, and it makes me happy and wakes me up.

When you look at it, it's a simple little routine, but it worked for us. (I'm speaking in the past tense simply because I'm not actively writing currently, but working on the synopsis and polishing the first twenty pages of the manuscript for the contest.) I'm going to have to figure out a new routine in the summer once my son is out of school, but then we'll be off again.

Not everyone needs a routine, and no person's routine will work for someone else. But if you have a hard time finding the time to write or getting settled into it, consider what might help you. Some people take a walk before they sit down to write. Some people meditate or do yoga. You have to look at what helps you to feel creative or inspired, and what you have to do to allow yourself to shut off everything else so you can write.

Speaking of which, something else I had to do was take Mondays off as cleaning days. I do the big cleaning around the house so I'm not sitting at my desk obsessing about everything else I need to get to. I would also note down other things I needed to take care of, and either do that before my office time or figure out when I would be able to get to it and "schedule" it, so to speak.

Once I was able to get all of this figured out, I was less stressed in the evenings, as well. Instead of obsessing over the fact that I should be writing, I was able to sit upstairs with my husband and relax, because I knew I'd gotten some work done.

I know a lot of people are working "day" jobs, so this wouldn't work for them, but I wanted to throw it out there so you could see that it is often possible to figure out something that works in your life. It doesn't have to be intricate, and it can be a small space of time here, maybe another slice there.

Do you have a routine? Or have you tried and it didn't work for you?

Happy Writing!

9 comments:

  1. I think I would be more productive if I could stick with a routine. I just haven't had much luck doing that.

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  2. I know I would get more done if I had a routine, but unfortunately with my work and life, routines are hard to come by.

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  3. I don't have a set routine, but I do make one that varies daily. Still I need it, because with so many other things going on, I would never get writing done without it. And good for you, that your daughter just goes along for the ride. :)

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  4. I love routines, and my writing is better when I stick to it. I've also thought about creating a writing ritual to let my muse know it's time to kick in. Something simple like lighting a candle, putting on some good writing music, and taking deep breaths.

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  5. AWARD! :D ~~>> http://animesmusings.blogspot.com/

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  6. (= Sometimes I have routine-- but I'm rather flexible--since my life can get very complicated at times.
    The Caillou days don't last long... they are precious. My youngest is still in that stage and I love the infusion of childhood it puts into my life. (=

    Thanks for the award-- I don't know if I mentioned that already. I will blog it at some point-- this A-Z thing is a jealous god. (=

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  7. My daughter just LOVES Caillou! She can even sing the entire theme song, and she's only 2!!

    Hm, routine...I'm not sure if I have one anymore. Since having my daughter I haven't been able to find that groove again for writing. I have so many things I want to finish and can't seem to find the motivation anymore. Perhaps it's because we have lived with other people for over a year. Maybe once we live by ourselves again I can find my niche...

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  8. M.J., I fall off it all the time. It feels good when I manage to keep it, but I don't know how people can do it perfectly, day in and day out. I decided I wasn't going to beat myself up when I didn't stick to it, though.

    Dafeenah, I was there, too. We've gotten ourselves so over scheduled around here that having a consistent time of day will be a trick when I try to get back into the routine.

    Nia, I think the only thing that's important is for a person to find whatever works best for them, whether it's a set schedule/routine, a malleable one or none at all.

    Shelli, I thought about doing a candle, too, and ended up with the lotion instead. I hope the candle routine works for you!

    Ani, thank you!

    Jo, I understand what you're saying, and it's true here, too, quite a bit of the time. I try to adjust where it's possible and not beat myself up when it's impossible. As for kids, my oldest is only 6, but he's already so independent and grown up that it makes me sad and proud at the same time. I love his little boyisms, though, like being grossed out when his favorite character, Indiana Jones, kisses someone. LOL! I think my little girl will stay little just a teeny bit longer than he did (hopefully). Though attitude-wise, she is quite the teenager already. Sheesh.

    Lydia, aw, my daughter loves to sing with Caillou, too. And, of course, that means I have it in my head quite regularly, as well. I imagine living with other people can mess up everything, really. I hope you're in a position to be able to jump back into your writing again, and soon.

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  9. Your routine centred on your daughter sounds lovely! I'm a teacher and have my writing time just after I've got the littlest (7yo) off to bed, before I venture downstairs and relax with dh. It's the Easter hols now and I'm at a bit of a loss! I thought I'd get loads done, since there is more time, but it's the lack of routine that's thrown us all out, I think,

    Good choice for R!

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