Tag Archives: routines

Broken Routines

On Wednesdays, I’ll cross-post my blog from Routines for Writers here…

The great thing about setting up writing routines – or any kind of routine – is that you can set things on auto-pilot and they just keep going. Until something falls on the tracks and disrupts them.

Since May, my life has been full to bursting with routine busters. The last six weeks of my master’s degree program were a mad rush of homework. The morning after my last class, I flew to the U.S. for 3 1/2 weeks for three different writer’s events (culminating in New York City at the Romance Writers of America’s national conference!). On the way back to Sydney, I picked up my Mom and she visited us for four weeks. A few days into her visit, John and I decided that my career could wait one more month to get re-started after college. I was never going to have this time with my mom again and that was more important than hurrying back to work.

Mom left, I took a couple days to relax and re-focus, then I started back up again. The first few days were okay, but the massive amounts of undone household chores loomed in the background. Still, I plowed on. Then a letter came from the government about a form we needed to file with them. That took the better part of two days over a week to deal with. (Ah, good ole government paperwork!)

Then some food got spilled on the couch cushions. I’d been meaning to take the cover off the couch and wash it for months, but I kept putting it off because I was busy doing other important things. Well, if I’ve got to wash one cushion cover, I might as well wash all of them and be done with it. Alas! The IKEA covers can be washed – and in hot water, no less – but can’t be tumble dried. They can get hot in water but can’t get hot in air? Oka-ay. So they’re drying on a rack now. But wait for it – they have to be hot-ironed before going back on.

Sigh. This was not how my day was supposed to go. This was not how my writing career was supposed to go!

On the other hand, after a productive work morning yesterday, my friend called me and said, “What are you doing?!” She’d been sick and housebound and now she sounded GREAT. And she wanted to get out of the house. And we missed each other. And we were only going to go to the mall to pick up two or three things. But so long as we were there, we should look for a couple things she needed for her trip to France. (I know, right?! Paris!) And since I was with her, I could play with her toddler while she tried on clothes.

And hey, since it’s raining, why don’t we go pick up our husbands from work (they work together on Happy Feet 2) so they don’t have to walk in the rain. And since it was raining, the traffic was a bear, so we still didn’t get home till after 7pm. Then there was no couch to sit on because the cushion covers were still air-drying. So my romantic husband took all our other pillows from the house and piled them up on the floor and we had a little chocolate picnic while we watched TV. At that point, writing routines were totally not on my radar! (Hey, since I write a lot of romance, I consider this research time. 😉 I totally forgot about you guys and this blog! LOL!)

So where does that leave me?

At the beginning of a new day. I think God created days and nights so we could always take a break and start again. I really do. So today is a new day. I’m writing this at the very beginning of a new day in Sydney, even though it’s the middle of the day in the States. (It’s tomorrow here! Isn’t that cool?!) When I’m done writing this, I’m going to hit restart on my old daily routine I used to have, my First Five (exercise and shower, make the bed, put away last night’s cleaned dishes, load the washing machine, read my Bible).

Then I’m going to work for two hours so that I’ll continue my commitment to put my career first. But then I’m going to spend the rest of the day getting all that “stuff” done that is making me crazy and taking part of my attention away from my work. (You know what I mean, you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, but you’re thinking about everything else that needs to be done.) I’ll iron those couch cushion covers and remake the couch. I’ll vacuum up the feathers that came out of the cushions, and do the rest of the apartment since I’m at it. I’ll clean up and put away all the half-done, half-put away stuff that’s been hanging around from as far back as June.

And then I’m determined to sit down and create a First Five for writing. I’ve been talking about it for eight months. I just haven’t figured out what the first five parts of my writing routine are yet. Possibly because I haven’t been in a place where I can really have a career writing routine yet. But that day is TODAY! LOL!

So what about you? Do you have certain things you do to get into your writing headspace? Are you like me, trying to create a routine but not figuring it out yet?

Note: Tomorrow I’ll post my first review of an ebook on how to make and publish ebooks. I’m going to self-publish my novel Little Miss Lovesick next month  and I want to share what I’m learning with my friends. So if you’re interested in that subject, stop on by!

Routine of Rest – Guilty or Not Guilty?

On Wednesdays, I’ll cross-post my blog from Routines for Writers here…

I feel a little guilty even writing this post. We talk about how much rest we need to function most efficiently, but is it a habit we practice? Yes, I take a mid-day break to eat lunch while watching a recorded episode of my favorite TV show. But did I actually rest, or just change activities?

This question came to mind full-strength yesterday when I was on my way home from dropping my mom at the airport and realized that all I wanted to do was go home and lie down on the couch. But I didn’t really rest. I caught up on some taped TV, ate lunch, caught up on the last two weeks’ of newspapers, and then remembered I needed to write a post about writing routines.

I did all of these things from the couch. But I wouldn’t say I truly rested.

Am I guilty of not managing my time well? Yes. Could I be more efficient? Yes. Do I watch too much TV? Guilty, again. But do I routinely really and truly rest? I’m afraid the verdict would be not guilty. And I think I should find a way to change that.

What do you think? When was the last time you felt well rested for even an hour or two?


Taking a Breath

On Wednesdays, I’ll cross-post my blog from Routines for Writers here…

I am so tired that I still can’t believe it – I have a master’s degree! Wow! Friends have asked me, how does it feel? And I say, I’m not sure yet. Of course, that’s partially because I went from class to a 14-hour plane ride to running around trying to see every friend I have in all of Southern California! LOL!

The jet lag isn’t helping. I’ve gone to bed early, gone to bed late, and still I woke up between 1am and 3am, then wasn’t able to fall asleep till after 5am. I’ve been out in the sunshine for hours, keeping up a schedule based on this time zone, not napping, drinking lots of water. But I’m still exhausted. Last night I even tried staying up till 3am hoping that would get me past that middle of the night waking period. But it only made me more tired.

I was talking to my friend Marcy and she reminded me I was doubtless going to feel exhausted anyway after I finished that last sprint for my classes. Then I took a transoceanic flight and kept running around, trying to adjust but not giving myself much room to do so. In which case, it’s a double-whammy on my mind and body.

It occurred to me that just like I take clues from my regular life and apply them to writing, now I can take a clue from writing and apply it to regular life. Sometimes you just have to relax and take a breath.

So I’m going to try to relax a bit with my big to do list and my trying so hard to do everything, and I’m going to try to take a little time to relax. Since I’m still going to run around and see three more sets of friends today, I guess in some ways the relaxing is only going to be mental.  LOL! But sometimes it’s your mind that sets the direction for everything else, so I think it will help a lot.

I don’t have a plan for any routines right now. I have no idea what my summer schedule is. I don’t even know for sure what I’m going to do at my writer’s retreat this weekend (except to figure out what I need to do to be ready for the NY writer’s conference in two weeks). I’m going to try to chill. Then after I’ve had a mental and emotional deep breath, I’ll come up with the next part of the plan. Hopefully, I’ll have had some sleep by then.

What about you? Are you busy with plans? Or taking a little break?