The Importance of Routine

458281_10151025430468523_1677435101_oSo, let’s start by saying that I’ve not written a post for a week or so. This is unlike me, and not the way in which I mean to carry on, but life has been happening to me. Although, come to think of it, that’s not really an excuse because life happens to most people, in fact even non-people like amoeba so, why am I so special?

I don’t know really and, in hindsight, it probably is quite a lame excuse but it’s the best I’ve got. It’s been the summer holidays and the kids are around, we’ve had friends visiting for extensive periods, we’ve had family crises and hospital appointments, all in all it’s just all been going on.

I’ve done very little writing over the summer and I’m now starting to really miss it. I really wanted to get Plaster Scene, my second novel, out before the summer came because I knew what was coming. I didn’t, and the summer still came, so I now feel as though I’m behind, but I suppose all great deadlines need an element of this.

My aim is to just get this book out as soon as possible so that I can crack on with the first draft of my third novel, which is called Blind Faith. I want to finish that draft by the end of the year. So, I’ve got four months to get these two things completed.

One of the hardest parts about being an author, especially a self-published author, is the level of self-discipline needed. While you have momentum and routine you can keep on going but, as soon as there’s a break, it’s then difficult to fit it in until the routine returns.

You’re your own boss, the master of your own destiny, the only obstacle between success and failure, the only person to blame for lack of effort. I find this quite motivating usually but occasionally it can demoralise me as well. Over the last two years I’ve learnt a lot about what works best and I’ve now come to a clear rule about school holidays.

I’m not sure how it all happened but I’m definitely reminded in the school holidays of the two children I actually have. During term-time I’m safe within the sanctuary of my, now familiar, routine but that all goes tits-up in the holidays. It’s impossible to get any sort of flow going because I’m constantly interrupted. All it does is leave me with a niggling sense of frustration because of the previous point of only having myself to blame.

My routine is becoming more and more sacred and I can’t wait until next week when the schools start to look after my kids again. Whereas in the past, when I’ve been a bit more flexible with my routine if something else comes up, I’m now going to attach more importance to it in the future.

You live and learn people. The only way I’m going to find out what works best for me is by, incidentally, finding most things that don’t.

Until next time…

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9 responses to “The Importance of Routine

  1. I read at the weekend that some high achievers get up super-early and get a few hours of concentrated, focused work under their belts before their families start appearing. That might work for you within your new regime? You could get to live a life during school holidays AND achieve some work.

    • Thanks, if only my organs all started at the same time in the morning. I’ve realised that my brain kicks in often a good few hours after my eyes open. I have tried it before, following similar articles, but it’s never been able to stick. Hey ho.

  2. I must admit, I’m much the same. On the rare occasions that I DO get up super early I think how wonderful that time of day is and that I should be up and about at that time more often. The downside is always that I’m whacked half way through the day ‘cos of the sleep deprivation! Nice idea though isn’t it? You’ll just need to programme long periods of downtime during the long school hols…..use the time for collecting ideas for future books and make a few notes……maybe you won’t then feel guilty.
    On the other hand, children are only young once and that time is very brief so there’ll be plenty of time for work once they get a bit older!

  3. I am too undisciplined a writer to offer advice, but I don’t mind passing along someone else’s.I was staggered once when I read someone’s pointing out that if you write even just one page a day — we might say one stinking, measly page a day — you have a novel at the end of a year. True, all those pages need to cohere, but I for one could never claim to have too little time to write one page a day. I did not always write it, but I had no excuse for not writing it. Now, I have to go catch up on writing for poetsandwar.com. Thanks for the prompt.

  4. Ahh, been there Sir. Wouldn’t swap my kids for the world, but a mute button wouldn’t go amiss… Agree with Stephen, the days where I’ve missed my early morning slot (I ‘try’ and get up an hour before I need to go to work each day to get some structure writing in, just blogged about it in fact), I just try and write something. Anything. It may be a few lines of ideas, outlines for scenes I haven’t gotten to, random dialogue, short story ideas, blog posts, book reviews, lists of people who would make a better Batman… The important bit is to write something. Anything. It helps if some of the things you write are relevant to your WIP, but sometimes just scratching that itch is enough (to be fair my livelihood doesn’t currently depend on writing though…)

    • Yep, they’re a tw… Beautiful addition to my life. đŸ™‚

      Thanks for the review of my book as well. I hadn’t seen it before so thanks very much. I’ll try to get some kind of laser gun apparatus into the next one. The second one will have injury caused by glow-in-the-dark golf though. It’s a start.

  5. I think you’re in good company. Many of us fall out of our routine during the summertime. I’ve seen a significant drop-off in blogging traffic since June.

  6. Been there about a thousand times… As creatives we tend to eschew structure and getting back on track becomes a life-long process if we’re to be productive. The road to hell is paved with good intentions… and routine appears to be our only salvation.

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