Writing Routine: Real v. Ideal

08.21.13 / desk, books + typewriter
As loath as I may be to admit it, and as much as I struggle to stick to one, I absolutely thrive when I implement a routine into any kind of project. (I’m probably not alone in this, either.) And a few weeks ago, I set myself on a routine for a week to get a lot of writing done, and for the few days that I did it, I was totally successful. I got a lot written and felt really productive. I would spend a few hours at my desk writing and come lunchtime I’d be pumped up with getting work done. Then three days in, I started to slack: I slept in a little later, I didn’t write as long (the office got so hot, guys!), and I let myself get distracted by other things (Netflix). But I haven’t forgotten those first awesome days, and I keep kicking myself for not sticking to them, especially since I really fell apart in writing my novel last week. I don’t think I’ve written anything in four or five days now–at least, it feels like it’s been that long.

My routine right now is to wake up at whatever time it becomes too hot to stay in bed, maybe shower, make an iced latte or have a glass of orange juice, and sit in the living room browsing the internet and listening to podcasts for the next three hours or so. I have a hard time writing lately, simply because I don’t have any ideas right now and I’m not nurturing my creativity at all, so I end up putting it off all day until about eight at night. Then I somehow manage to write my word count for the day–if I write it at all. It’s all or nothing with me, it seems, and I’m kind of okay with that because I don’t believe in forcing myself to write. I can only trudge through so much bad stuff before I need a break, and I guess lately I’ve needed a break. But at the same time, I feel like this break is going on way too long.
08.21.13 / smith corona corsair deluxe
Ideally, though? Ideally my day would look like this:

I’d wake up early, around seven, seven-thirty, shower and dress, making myself feel wonderful and clean and ready for the day. I’d make myself a cup of tea or a latte, then start right in on writing, ignoring the internet until I was finished, which would take maybe two hours because when I get started, even writing bad first draft fluff, I generally kick butt. And I would feel so accomplished that I’d spend the rest of the day doing whatever I wanted and not feel guilty about it–or keep working in the throes of proud productivity.

I am not naturally a morning person, though. It’s often a struggle for me to get up, let alone be active right away. (Today I got up around eleven.) I’m sure I can train myself to have this routine, but right now my will seems to be lacking, which sucks. I can’t seem to get off the computer or out of a book any time before one in the morning most nights, and more often than not I need nine hours of sleep before I can wake up easily. It’s a bad combination at the moment, but I’d really like to change it because I’d like to stop feeling so useless lately + get my butt in gear on this novel. I can’t just let it sit around half-finished, right?

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6 thoughts on “Writing Routine: Real v. Ideal

  1. i am not a writer (poet? maybe somedays. . . ) but i have a lot of these feelings about other things i do (or want to do more of): running, making books, blogging. it seems if i can get myself into a schedule/routine then everything is fine and dandy but once i flub it up then everything is terrible again.

    discipline, discipline, discipline. oh, and reminding myself that i’ll probably never look back at my life and think “man i wish i watched tv/aimlessly browsed the internet a lot more” but sometimes not even that does the trick.

    good luck with your routine though! oh, and have you heard of macfreedom? maybe an internet blocking app would help with your distraction problem ❤

    • I have Chrome Nanny installed, but I have a tendency to cave in and disable it more often than not. I should get back into using it, though. It was definitely helpful with finals last fall. I’m hoping that come cooler weather I’ll be able to work in the office more, which will get me out of the living room and away from the TV.

  2. i have the same issues plus a baby, which makes for even less time to actually get things done. I’m awful at routines. Mine kinda depends on what routine Amelia feels like. I’m a night owl, so I try and stay up and get things done since that’s when I am the most productive. I have several different organizers and lists and just try to prioritize what to get done in the time I do have. So i guess there is never a routine, just today I want to get this done… I usually drink loads of coffee and try to take a nap in the afternoon with Amelia so I’m not a zombie. I have a hard time working out, but for a while I would do it at night since that was the only time I had. I just told myself, “you can spend this hour looking at pinterest or you could go to that yoga dvd.” Motivating myself is hard, but I’m trying.

    you’re ideal routine sounds awesome! i think you should try it out and give yourself a goal amount of time like a week and then get a nice reward. that’s something i try to do. and i feel like baby steps help….

    • I’m really trying to get into at least getting up earlier to start. I did get up two hours earlier today than yesterday, so I’m giving myself credit for that. The first step is going to bed earlier, I think. Then I’ll just see where I can go from there. I think Amelia is such a good excuse for you not to have a routine, though. And it sounds like your lack of routine is still kind of a routine–if that makes sense. I guess as long as you get done the things you want to, that’s the real goal/accomplishment.

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