Friday, September 2, 2022

Writing Routines

 Routine and ritual are a recipe for achieving flow. Flow is that state where time and effort seem to disappear. It's where deep work happens. It isn't proof against struggling. I have a regularly scheduled writing time. 8AM every weekday morning. I show up every weekday morning and open the WIP. 

It isn't a guarantee of success, though. It's down to intention, drive, and determination. That being the case, in no way to I advocate for writing every day. I do advocate for doing what works for you. I am learning that an hour in the morning is not necessarily the best way for me to work. I need much longer stretches of time. Four hours seems to be the sweet spot. I need that much time to get immersed in my stories and characters. It really seems that my continuity sense is dependent on that much time. Because there's a day job now in the mix and the care of aging parents, this means that I have to be a weekend warrior. I use my weekday morning sessions to wrap my head around where the story is going - to make notes about what scenes I want and need so I can jump in on the weekends. 

You'd think that four hours on the weekend would be easy to come by. You'd be wrong. Turns out, my family seems to think my weekends are for chores. ALL THE CHORES. A house full of people and cats needs a ton of maintenance and upkeep. I'm the only person in the family who goes up ladders. Or who handles power tools of any size. 

Most of the time, I get around the demands of family life by getting up at 5AM and working until 9AM. I usually get two hours before anyone else in the house begins stirring. Then it's another two hours of telling people to hush up and hold whatever they want to tell me, ask me, remind me, etc until after 9AM. It's a new routine which means that the boundaries are still being tested. I'm trying really hard to stand firm. Really hard. But like Jeffe, I'm dealing with family drama - same kind she is - an aging parent who's very ill and in the hospital at the moment. We're still finding out whether this will be something the parent in question can survive. So it's possible this weekend the boundaries will crumble under the pressure. 

And you know what? Fine. 

This too shall pass and then I get back up on the horse. I suspect that's the real secret. You're a writer no matter whether you write every day or grab snippets of word count when you can. Life is going to get in the way. Persistence and coming back over and over to the page is what matters. Keep coming back.

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