The Relief of Routine (A Love Letter)
Routine. Since returning home from France a week and a half ago, I’ve struggled with establishing a writing routine. In France, I followed the same routine as I have here at home for many years: wake up, get coffee, sit down to the computer and write. Okay, I will admit to looking at email while the coffee brews. My excuse is that this allows me to make certain there is nothing pressing to deal with (lame, I know). And yes, I DO GET DISTRACTED from my purpose to write, just like everyone else. But I’m pretty good about eventually getting down to it. After a couple hours at the computer, I eat breakfast, shower, and carry on with my day.
But, in my month-long absence, my daughter and her family moved in, complete with two small boys, one of whom loves nothing more in the world than hanging out with me in my office. And so, all of a sudden, my precious routine was totally disrupted. Jet-lagged and stiff in every muscle in my body after 14 hours on two different planes, I woke early and groggily sat at my computer in the living room. My daughter had organized a sweet office for me in a tiny room upstairs, but I couldn’t quite face setting up there yet.
For several days, I felt unmoored. Unrooted. Adrift in a strange new world, which was chaotic after the calm, focused days in France. I wasn’t getting any writing (or any work of any kind) done. But I was worrying a lot. How would I ever do any writing with all this going on around me? Would I ever return to my rewrite or the novel I wrote 30,000 words on in France? How would I ever accomplish all the things I want to do?
And then, finally, I set up my computer upstairs and the next morning carried a thermos of coffee up with me very early. And got to work. Jumped back into the rewrite. Suddenly, the world opened up again. I felt like myself again. Because I was writing. The planets had righted themselves and my life was back on a firm foundation.
Because writing is the foundation of my life and if I’m not finding a way to work on it, I’m unbalanced. Yes, I heard the pitter-patter of little feet an hour and a half into my work session, and my grandson appeared in my office. But by then I’d gotten enough work done that I could cheerfully let him play with my colored pens while I dealt with email.
And the only way I got back to it was by returning to my routine. Finding a way to make it work again, which really wasn’t difficult. If I hadn’t had that routine in place I’d probably still be casting about in the dark for a way to get my writing done.
It is easy to think of routine as boring and rote, the province of boring, rote people—certainly not creatives! But, ultimately, it is routine that will save you. Do you have a routine you follow? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment and tell me or head on over to the Facebook group to talk about it.
By the way, I’ve got room on my coaching roster for one or two clients. Email me if you want more info and we can set up a time to talk about it.
0 thoughts on “The Relief of Routine (A Love Letter)”
Milli Thornton (@writemorewords)
Loved being taken into your world of writing and routine. Yep, I definitely have my routines and that’s how I stay anchored in a life of moving around as a house sitter. Like you, I’m guilty of looking at my email before writing to make sure there’s nothing urgent to attend to. (But we shouldn’t feel bad. It makes good business sense to stay on top of it.) It’s such a great feeling to get the writing done as part of a morning routine and then have the rest of the day for career matters.
Charlotte Rains Dixon
That’s what I’m going to tell myself from here on out in the morning–that I just have good business sense when I check my email first! All kidding aside, it is true. And I do find that casting a quick eye on it settles my brain for the writing. Otherwise I would fret about what’s there.