Monday, August 31, 2009

On routines

I hate them. And I love them.

To start with the first – I think hating routines is a late effect of my former orderly life. I was never one of those kids whose entire life was ruled by a tight schedule, but I had my share of organized activities in addition to school, naturally, so when I had a chance to break loose, I grabbed it eagerly.

Free of scheduled obligations, however, I found that it was much harder reaching my full potential in any given activity. Don’t get me wrong – I’m no slacker – but more often than not I’m not able to do everything I think I’ll get done. Part of the problem is that I have too high expectations (picking up the thread from my very first post on this blog, ending with my never-ceasing optimistic view on “change”). My ambitions are not always in tune with my capacity. Especially since – and I think this is the main part of the problem – I cannot reach my full potential without routines to force me.

This is why I love routines. They help me to do things I’d otherwise weasel out of, or push ahead of me. I’m a world class procrastinator; I founded a religion called Digressionism... It’s not like I wouldn’t get anything done without routines – I have a very strong sense of obligation so I’ll always manage to find a way to do the things I have to do – but I’d certainly get a lot less done. Since I have my obligations very firmly prioritized, I’ll always be a dependable employee, friend and family member. But what often is put at the end of the list, which consequently and inevitably is foregone most days, is my writing.

Each day I choose to undermine my own highest ambition due to my lack of routines.

Putting it out there makes me feel sad, because it sounds terribly pathetic. But it is true, and I guess this is an effort to change the situation. Because what is a blog but an attempt to start a routine? Having a once a day, once a week or even once a month routine for writing a long or short blog entry will ensure that you do the one thing any writer must do: write.

I’ve spent some time over the last few weeks reading blogs of aspiring or published authors and agents, all of them containing splendid advice on how to get started, both with the actual writing and with getting published once the book is done. (It’s fair to acknowledge that a significant portion of the blogs I’ve “found”, actually only involved me taking advantage of the research done by some of my fabulous fellow writers and bloggers, especially Hart Johnson and through her, Elizabeth Spann Craig.) The main advice that keeps coming up is the simplest and yet the toughest of them all: WRITE! So, since the logic of people who know what they are talking about equates pure common sense, I shall do my best to listen.

Thus, I shall try to make it a routine to write a little every day. And hopefully, by making it a routine, I will finally feel obligated to actually do this for myself (instead of ending up hating it, since it's a routine... But that's not gonna happen...?).

Currently reading: Junot Diaz – The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Junot
Currently listening to: Kent – Den Döda Vinkeln (from the album Du & jag döden)


Galen Kindley--Author said...

Hmmm. Well, if it gets you writing, isn’t that the important thing. I think so.

But try not to get too far ahead of yourself with a plan or routine. Enjoy the creative effect, the fun of it. Create interesting characters you want to be with everyday. It’s really fun, you know…if it’s not made like a business or a labor. (Tell you a secret, that’s what my blog has become: a labor. Don’t like doing it. But, it’s a business thing, so, I do.)

Trust me, I’ve been through the entire publishing gamut. The best part is the writing, and the best part of that is the first seventy five percent. Then, it’s less fun, then, it starts to become work.

If you’re just starting, you’re in the sweetest of sweet spots. Enjoy it.

Hint: Start every scene or chapter by asking who’s the POV character…saves lots of painful revision later.

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Cruella Collett said...

Galen, that is good advice - thank you! I agree that it would be a shame if the writing became a duty rather than a pleasure, but at the same time, the things I'm really proud of having done in my life I often did because they were duties... I love the feeling of accomplishment, and I know deep inside that I'll never actually write a book without more self-discipline.

That the blogging can become labour I can relate to, though. Not that this has yet - I'm still having a lot of fun blogging - but I know that it's largely due to the novelty of it. Hopefully, I will continue regardless, since I think it's really good practice for me.

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