Sunday, January 6, 2013

Resuming the Routine

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired to write at 9 o’clock every morning.” ~Peter De Vries

Right now the media are bursting with resolution tips. Naturally. If your resolutions are worth anything, it’s tough to keep them, particularly following the holidays. During this time most of us—in every way—have been less rather than more disciplined than usual. But before you throw up your hands in abject despair about writing at least as well or much, give yourself a break, then a push, in as quick succession as possible.

Vacations, wonderful as they are, always make the first day back to work taxing. It’s not just that you have to catch up; you have to remind your mind how to do this, much the way you remind your muscles what to do if you’ve been deprived of exercise for a while. The good news is that eventually you do the work, reclaim your mind, restore your muscles.

Writing’s the same, and a few reminders may help you recapture your routines more quickly and comfortably.

·         Don’t fight.
The harder you are on yourself, then the longer it will take.

·         Don’t demand more until you catch up.
If you ran a mile every day before, you can’t run five miles if you didn’t run at all for three whole weeks.

·         Do fastidiously record all the great ideas you encountered when not thinking about your writing at all.
These can be the deepest, most exciting ones. Take advantage.

·         Do remind yourself that you created your own routine.
It can feel challenging, tedious or both, but it also comforts. You developed this practice because it works for you—and it will again.

·         Do accept that routine matters.
A large percentage of writing quotes remind that the more you treat writing like any other “job,” the better and more productive you’ll be. Here’s Harlan Ellison: “Anyone can become a writer. The trick is staying a writer.”

Tip: The writers who get farthest fastest set goals, and, with needed adjustments, they keep them.

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