I find it incredibly important to stick to a daily routine, but unfortunately I seldom manage to make one last. I get into one for 3 or 4 days and then something comes along to make it impossible to stick to. But nonetheless it is something that I’ve always strived to achieve. I find that I’m so much more productive when I train myself to deliver at the same time each day, rather than wait for a window of time, or worse still, wait for inspiration.
So, why does a routine help a writer, or any artist, to continue to create?
As I was researching this post, an artist friend of mine (Ian Mood) put me in touch with this collection of daily routines from successful authors. It struck me that most had a routine of sorts, and nearly all of them would stick religiously to it. They would follow this routine for thirty, forty, even fifty plus years.
It appeared that the morning, up until lunch, tended to be the most common time to work, and then the afternoon would often be for other distractions, followed by another hour or two in the early evening. There were a few reasons that were given by these greats for why they had stuck to their system.
Inspiration is not a thing that comes to the door and politely knocks, it is something that accompanies you to the door. I am inspired all of the time by works of art, turns of phrase, pieces of music, great sport, and people’s lives; but all of these just generally inspire me to do something.
If I talk about the inspiration needed to know where a scene goes, this only comes to me when I am busy writing, or discussing, that scene. The inspiration is the product of the energy you put in to start focussing. If you write at the same time each day then you are forcing yourself to put that energy in, and more often than not you will be rewarded for it.
I am much more creative in the late morning until about two or three o’clock in the afternoon than I am at any other time of the day. So, it would make sense for my routine to allow me to concentrate on writing between these hours. In order to be more productive I have to listen to the natural rhythm that I can feel.
If you have a daily routine that sets aside a specific time in which you need to focus, then you can arrange any other errands and tasks around it. In the modern world where, especially technical, distraction is absolutely everywhere, it will help to ring fence a certain period and treat it as sacred.
Isn’t that what we all want? If you are in control of your routine then you can control the level of balance within your day. You can choose how much time will be spent writing, reading, twittering, eating, exercising, being with family, socialising. All of the various components that make up a happy, content life can be all considered, and made to complement each other rather than conflict.
Ultimately, a routine helps you to become more productive, and also helps others in your life to know when you’re available. If you adamantly stick to one, then it will hold great benefits, and my next challenge is to make a routine work for me. Tomorrow I am going to lay out my desired routine, and then let you all know how it goes.
How much success have you had with a daily routine?