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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Routines

I tend to do everything in my life as a routine.

I get up at the same time each day. The first thing I do is feed my cats, then I head to the kitchen for coffee. While drinking my first cup, I log on to the computer, check my email, Facebook, and Twitter, getting caught up from the overnight crowd. By the time I am on my second cup of coffee and have a bagel before me, I've moved on to beginning my editing work for the day.

After I edit for a few hours, I'll break for lunch. During lunch, I'll think about my current WIP and try to solve some problems in my head or something of that nature. Once I've finished eating, I feed the cats again (I've got a kitten who needs three meals a day), fix myself a glass of iced tea, and move on to writing.

Writing fills my afternoons, and in the evenings I either get time off (a rarity), or I do more writing or editing (whichever is more pressing at the moment).

By having a routine, my brain tends to be better prepared for whatever task I'm asking it to perform. I've learned through years of writing that I do NOT do creativity in the mornings, so afternoons and evenings are much more productive writing times for me. I can be analytical before my caffeine has fully kicked in, so a good way to get myself into work mode is through editing.

I'm trying to develop some new routines. For example, I've had a really bad habit over the last few months of not even showering or getting dressed before I start working, and so some days it doesn't happen until mid-afternoon. Yeah, not any more. These days, I do all of that as though I'm going to a "real" job, even dressing in slacks and blouses or something of that nature...then heading out to the coffee shop to work. I also have a very, very bad habit of incessantly checking my email. A new routine I've developed? When I sit down for a writing or editing session, I'll log out of every browser or email client first, then enable Freedom for a set period of time, so I can't procrastinate by spending too much time on my email or Facebook.

I find it is easier to develop new routines than it is to break bad habits. *sigh* That's something I'll have to work on.

Do you have any specific routines? Do you think they help you to achieve what you want to achieve? Or do you need to set some routines?

Check back tomorrow, when I'll blog about how all of my routines have gone to the birds of late.

10 comments:

  1. I am not a routine person - stuck in a routine life. :)

    The alarm goes off at 5am. I hit snooze at least twice. I'm usually up around 5:30a. Let the cat outside and feed the dog. Prepare my son's lunch, then wake him. Get him breakfast, nag him to get dressed, brush his teeth and comb his hair. Drive him to school and then head to the day job (the bane of my existence these days, but that's an entirely different topic.)

    Then I usually keep my laptop open at my desk in case I get a few minutes to myself and inspiration hits. This used to happen a lot more than it does these days, sadly.

    After work, I head home and get some words written before my son returns. And then decide if we're ordering in or going out (not the best domestic, here.)

    After making sure homework has been completed, we usually watch a little tv (laptop still open and near me, just in case inspiration strikes.)

    AND THEN... after he's in bed, I usually get a few hours to myself to actually focus on writing. Though it's not when I'd like to write, it's the only time I have. But since it's not my natural inclination to be creative right then...what other choice do I have?

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  2. Ava, I'm still amazed with all writers who hold down day jobs and take care of a family. I don't know that I could do it! Most of my siblings are very non-routine people, too, and it drives them up the wall how systematically I tend to do everything. LOL. I can't help it though.

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  3. I have routines in everything but writing. Which I'm trying to change but it's hard since the kids get to supersede writing in importance.

    Mainly I need to make the time from the youngest leaving for school until I pick up the oldest for writing. Not checking emails, twitter, facebook, blogs, etc. All that can be wedged in between dealing with the kids.

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  4. I'm somewhat of a routine person. Some of it's forced on my, like getting my kids ready and to school every morning, and some of it I decided long ago I have to do. I exercise Monday through Friday, no matter what. I tend to get lazy on the weekends, so if I get extra time to exercise I count is as a bonus. The best routine I've developed as far as writing is writing every day, even if it's just a page. For some reason, if I miss a day, it's so hard for me to get started again. That being said, I do have an exception. I do not write on vacation. That is time with my family and focused on my family. A great life routine my husband and I started a year ago is Friday nights are family nights. We never plan to go out, unless it is a work function that cannot be avoided. He comes home early and we let our kids decide where they want to go eat then we do a fun activity we all mutually decide on. This can be a little taxing since the opinions of a four year old, a seven year old and two thirty-nine year olds all have to be considered, but somehow it all seems to work out in the end.

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  5. I love routine. I think, like you, I work best when I have one.

    Unfortunately, I have a toddler, so routines often get thrown out the window. lol. Having a nanny every day helps, though I still have to go grocery shopping and do other I-can't-have-the-kid-with-me-for-this stuff. And since the hubby works from home as well, we end up "playing hooky" to go have lunch or take a dip in the hot tub a lot. But when I'm working on a project that I'm really excited about, I tend to be harder on myself. I'll stick to a schedule as much as I can and grab extra minutes here and there when possible. Oh, and exercise is a non-negotiable. I workout at least 4 days a week, and like Julie said, weekend workouts are a bonus.

    Bottom line: I try. I just don't always succeed. lol.

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  6. Thanks for stopping by, Beth! Good luck with setting yourself up on a writing routine. It can be difficult to get going, but once you have it, I find it very useful.

    Julie, I've tried having a routine where I write at least a certain amount per day. I tend to work better, though, where I am working on only one WIP at a time, and sometimes I'm writing...but at other times, I'm revising. As long as I do at least some writing or revising a day, I count it as my writing time. It isn't always new words.

    Jerrica, I need to do like you and Julie. I've got to get myself on a workout schedule. I think it is time to invest in a gym membership. Maybe I'll start out small and do a few minutes a day, a few days a week...and work myself up. That workout time might come in useful as plotting and planning time. :)

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  7. I'm not a huge routine person, but I like to have daily goals. Every night before I go to bed, I ask myself, "So what's the plan?" I like to make lists, especially if I'm feeling overwhelmed.

    I like your practice of getting showered and dressed to write. I work my other job from home, too, and it does get me in gear to dress for work. Maybe I should start doing that on my writing days.

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  8. Oh no, no routines. I'm not very organized in anything except my writing so I'm very different from everyone else. I'm a plotter and I have an organized way of writing and I do write every day but...my real life schedule that includes sporatic hours at my real life job and three kids, my life is always hectic. Finding time to write every day is difficult but I nab it at every opportunity.

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  9. I developed routines really early. My dad (a farmer) had little rituals that we had to follow, and then when I went out to work I had to manage early mornings and train timetables. Missing the train for a job two hours away kinda reinforces the notion that you have to have a plan. My hubby is a no plan whatsoever kind of guy and I learned to plan around him. LOL. Dont know that he realizes that thought. *wink*

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  10. Samantha, it has helped me immensely since I started getting dressed to go to work. :) It may not help everyone, but I think it is worth a try. If I'm still sitting around in my PJs, it is easy to just play around instead of settling in to work mode.

    Suzie, like I said to Ava, I'm amazed with all the writers who also have day jobs and kids and whatnot. Good for you to find writing time when you can!

    Heather, that's hilarious that you plan around your hubby. I'm the only routine person in my family. Don't know how I came out that way. The sporadic ones all have varying degrees of it. LOL. One of my sisters is habitually 30 minutes late, so I guess you could say she is a routine person, of sorts. So, when we're going to do something together, we tell her a time 30 minutes earlier than we're actually planning so she'll end up on time. :) She has finally caught on that we're doing it, but she just laughs about it.

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