When I decided to write full time from home, I had a routine planned, and that routine would be writing. Just writing. Writing, writing, writing. Morning, noon, and night. Preferably on the couch.
Now that I actually write full time from home, my routine’s become specific. It had to be specific if I wanted family time, social time, reading time, and time for the things we have to do, like cleaning bathrooms and buying
donuts groceries. Plus my creativity waves goodbye to me after a few hours. She’s fickle and doesn’t like to be overworked.
My routine is different in the summer because of the kiddo. Setting those weeks aside, here, ladies and gentlemen, is Shelley’s Writing Routine.
- I work almost exclusively in my small office. I learned the hard way about laptops and couches and beds and chairs. The positioning is not suited for your neck, shoulders, and back, according to my chiropractor, acupuncturist, orthopedist, and physical therapist.
- I get up early, between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. First job: social media. I blog, update Facebook, and tweet (occasionally). Follow up email business. If there’s time before I need to wake up my daughter, I’ll read the news or check out other writing blogs. I jot ideas for my (eventual) marketing plan.
- I wake kid, feed kid, goof around with kid. Then off to school she goes.
- I write. No music. No background TV. Just the clicking of keys. I write for about two hours.
- I exercise. Thirty minutes on the elliptical nearly every day. It keeps me sane, and I can play Scrabble on the Ipad or read my stuff while I do it. Then I do thirty minutes of strength work and stretching in front of the TV. This is my alone time with my special guys, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
- I do some housework, take a shower, eat lunch. After lunch, I take a short walk to get some fresh air and sunshine. Then, it’s back to the office.
- I write again, probably for another two hours.
- And I’m done. Four hours a day of writing. That’s it. I thought it would be a lot more, but my brain gets mushy.
- Depending on the day, I’ll have coffee or lunch with a friend, run errands, or visit with my mom.
- I often take a nap. Sleeping has always been part of my creative process, and that’s no joke. I take the story to bed, and I idea-dream, as I call it. During the night, or during naps, I’ve written dialogue, figured out plot points, changed settings, developed characters, and decided how to inject life into parts of the story that lag. Some of my best ideas have come during sleep. So have some of the most ridiculous ideas. Just as regular dreams can be nonsensical, so can idea-dreaming. I once was struggling with how to get my character out of the trouble I’d set up for her. The idea-dream said, When everyone finds her, she turns into a pickle! Then they don’t know she’s there! BRILLIANT!
- Night is family time, social time, fun time. If I’m energetic at bedtime, I’ll go to the office and read my day’s work and edit. I get the story back in my head, hoping it’ll fuel an idea-dream.
That’s the routine. Not exciting, is it? But that’s the point of a routine. It’s ordinary, regular, every-day stuff.
So here’s a routine goodbye.
Goodbye and have a great day.