After nearly three months of writing full time, two things have become painfully clear to me:
1) Routines suck the soul and creativity out of me.
2) I need routines desperately to keep writing.
You may therefore conclude that I’ m just a confused being who can’t figure out what she wants. Well, you’d be wrong – mostly. I will stand by these statements I’ve made and defend how they’ve both helped me to become a better writer and a better human.
I’ll give you two scenarios to argue my case:
Scenario 1 (in which the subject curses routines into oblivion and pities those souls who have chained themselves into their daily rituals):
Subject rolls out of bed around 1130 AM – subject was up until 4 AM starting and finishing a new fantasy book, then googling everything she could about when the next book in the series would be released and where she could find sneak preview chapters.
Subject rolls back into bed around 12 PM, having showered and then having concluded that the sneak preview chapters simply could not wait.
Subject has a burst of creative energy around 2 PM, writing scribbles of a displaced scene, until her stomach interrupts her at 230PM, demanding to be fed.
Subject is fed, watered, dressed and ready to take on the world at…. the impressive hour of 4 PM. Just in time for the last yoga class of the day.
Subject has gone out, exercised, come back home, showered and had dinner by 830 PM and is now fully ready to write her heart away, making up for the day that had otherwise disappeared from her!
Subject stays up until 12AM writing… until she remembers she is not a night person, and the writing is crap anyways. Trying to hurry to bed as quickly as she can (1AM) so that she does not waste tomorrow’s morning hours as well, the subject goes to sleep with thoughts of self-disgust and vows to reverse her life’s course. Which brings us to scenario 2….
Scenario 2 (in which the subject declares her own folly for having cursed routines in the first place, and seeks to embrace every daily ritual she has heard of):
Subject drags herself out of bed at 8 AM, goes to 9AM yoga, walks in the forest, plans out her work and workout outfits, starts drinking coffee in the mornings (which she never really liked), tea in the evenings, setting exact times for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime, and locking herself into her office in between these times, superglueing her hands to a keyboard and forcing herself to pound out words.
This works pretty well for a time (read: the first week, while its new and fresh and fun) until…. the routine settles into her bones in the midst of the second week of this, and her bones scream back in fury, and finally in silent mockery as she stares at a blank screen and the words refuse to come.
“You thought you could tie us down to your little color-coded schedule??” say the silent muses within. “Ha! Well we have news for you – we come when we feel like it. We’re not dogs to be trained to fetch at your beck and call, and we are temporarily deserting you for even attempting to tame us.”
“Wait!” the subjects cries desperately, “I wasn’t trying to tame you, I swear! I was trying to train myself to – routines you know! They’re healthy! I’m trying to be healthy!!!” the subject wails in despair, crumpling to the floor and pounding the carpet as if this action would summon the muses back.
Out of an attempt to quail the agony of losing her muses, the subject drowns her sorrows… with another two ebooks… until 5AM…. and then scenario 1 begins again.
SO – how does the subject break free of two fairly destructive scenarios that feed off of each other like canibalistic frogs? She clearly does, because the subject, being myself, is currently writing this blog free of superglue on her wrists, and at the reasonable hour of 830 AM.
Where’s the happy balance? Or lack of balance? Don’t worry young Padawan (read: patient blog follower who is dutifully keeping up with my word spews). I’ll give you Part 2, next week. If the subject does not fall back into Scenarios 1 or 2, that is. 🙂