This morning I woke up thinking it was an hour earlier than it actually was. No, it was not daylight savings time. It was me, not realizing I had snoozed my alarm three times. But I had been ready to wake up: to enjoy the first sip of my 2x caffeine k cup with a splash of soy milk; to reveal in the quiet of the early morning; to be in my one hour of uninterrupted writing time. But it was 6 am and I had not hit my word count. I woke up already feeling behind. As soon I got into the office for my day job, I opened my brainstorming notebook and scribbled down “The Importance of Sticking to Your Writing Routine” as my project for when I’d return home.
Now, in retrospect, writing this after an 8 hour work day and commute, accidentally breaking my writing routine doesn’t seem as bad… because I just realized that I actually have a writing routine. I’ve been disciplined enough to make not writing disorientating. Which is refreshing, considering how deep my last rut was. It also confirms that I’ve switched from being a night owl to a morning bird, no matter how outdated these synonyms are. But how was I able to create this routine in the first place?
Start Sacrificing: Rather than staying up later after work to try to make more time, I started waking up earlier. As much as I love binging Netflix, I much rather prefer having a cup of coffee to sip on while I write. Also, we’re only capable of making a limited amount of good decisions in a day: I figured it’d be better to use that energy to help propel my stories.
A Change in Space: Energy is important: negative energy trumps all. It’s not worth the amount of physical and mental space it takes up. So, sign a new lease, create a safe space, intend to do better, surround yourself with people who make you feel good, and don’t settle for anything less than you deserve;
Get Organized: Annoying at first, but true. It’s much easier to finish tasks when they’re in front of you because the only way they’ll disappear is by either highlighting it or crossing it off your list. And crossing it off the list means that you’re deciding not to do it. I love making my lists and organizing; it helps me to remember.
Write in Bursts: Gone are the days wasted sitting at the keyboard: if you can’t write, then don’t. Start with 20 minutes a day. Then, go to 30. Then, an hour. If you limit the amount of time you can write you’ll start to find yourself wishing that you had more, rather than dreading staring at a blank page. Write in bursts of no more than an hour and give yourself time to live. Staring at a blank page won’t get your book written; finding your inspiration will.
Have you ever broken your writing routine? What helps you stay in your grove?