The Need for a Writing Routine

Sometimes the day just seems to spiral out of control.
Sometimes the day just seems to spiral out of control.

We cherish freedom yet we thrive in restrictions. It’s the sort of horrible irony of human nature that I’d expect Loki to comment on in a Marvel film. It’s why I’m so glad to be getting back into routines after the house move.

Don’t get me wrong, I still relish freedom from the more restrictive routines of my old office job. I mean seriously, who needs to dress up smart to sit behind the scenes at a computer all day? But the past few weeks, with their packing and unpacking, along with a lack of home internet access, have completely screwed with my ability to get stuff done. I’m back to working decent hours now, but something as simple as not being able to deal with my emails before breakfast mucks up my ability to smoothly progress through the heaps of work.

Sure, routines limit us. But they also save us the brain power involved in endless decisions about what to do next, when, for how long, and so on. Mess with a small child’s schedule and this becomes really obvious, but I’m sure we adults are just as susceptible, even if we wear our moods less prominently on our sleeves.

Now the boxes are unpacked and the internet is coming. Time to get myself settled into the rails of a regular routine once more.


Picture by JDBaskin via Flickr creative commons.

Writing life part 57B – still not got a routine

This afternoon I have been that guy in the coffee shop, listening to jazz on an i-pod and writing a novel that will probably never see the light of day. Opinions on that guy vary with whether or not you’ve been him, your tolerance for slackers, and your own mental state. I’ve traditionally gone for a mixture of envy and loathing. But today I was that guy, and was glad of the change of scenery.

Even after several months, I’m finding it hard to settle into a routine work-wise. I can keep a pattern up for a week, maybe two, then I get a sort of mental inertia and have to shake things up again. When I was in an office I moved past this by changing projects or arranging long meetings (we called them workshops – this is how desperate office workers are to make their lives sound exciting – I had a long meaningless job title too). Now it’s mostly about getting out of the house, or doing a different sort of writing. This week my pattern seems to be writing at home in the morning, then planning and reading in a cafe in the afternoon.

This is not the Hunter S Thompson wild life of a writer, but compared with being in those ‘workshops’ it’s still the dream.

I expect I’ll say something more insightful tomorrow. But for now, I’ve written two stories in two days, and my brain needs to rest.

And in case you were curious, the jazz I was listening to was Eric Dolphy. Credit where credit’s due, that man’s a legend.