I’m a creature of habit. Over a period of weeks or months, I tend to fall into a certain, unvarying routine in all elements of my life. At home, I write during the same time of the day every day. Every week, certain days are given over to doing things with my wife, others, with friends. There’s no need for me to keep a calendar because any variation from this routine is so memorable that I can hardly forget it.
So there are advantages to this system. That’s good; it’s such a deep part of my psyche that I could scarcely change if I wanted to. On the other hand, sometimes I’m forced to mix things up, and that’s where the bad times start. This last month has been one of those times.
Several posts ago I mentioned that my work hours were being drastically reduced, and at the time I expressed hope that having more time would mean I could write more. And I was correct: I can write more. But the fact is, I do write less, and after some deliberation, I’ve found two main reasons why.
First, what I mentioned above. My routine got broken, and rather than adapting myself to it, all of my plans fell apart and I got really lazy. It’s like I degenerated into some sort of primitive being, caring only for the satiation of immediate pleasures and lacking any ability to plan for the future. Or something.
Second, I’m kind of lazy in general, and given even the slightest excuse I’ll put off doing just about anything. Naturally, the long something gets put off, the harder it gets to do–laziness possesses tremendous inertia. And when I finally start doing something, I tend to lack the focus to work on it consistently unless there’s some external deadline. I’m sure you all are quite familiar with that.
So here’s the plan, then. I work from 10:30-5 (more or less) every day now. So, I get up at 6:30, shower, dress, etc., and by 7:00 my butt’s in the chair. I think I’m going to mix things up a bit and try to ease myself into daily writing: do some free writing, some blog posting, some flash fiction, whatever, for twenty minutes or so. Then, by 7:30, I’ll write steadily in thirty minute intervals (precisely!) and break for twenty (precisely!). That means that I get something like ninety to a hundred and twenty minutes of writing in, depending on whether I have to go into the office or work from home. If I work steadily at that pace, then there’s pretty much no limit to what I can accomplish.
Once I settle into this new routine, I’ll start edging out the breaks and start increasing the writing intervals. Eventually, I want to get into the professional position of being able to work steadily for hours at a time. Is this likely? I’ve never managed it before. Would it be worthwhile, if I could manage it? Absolutely, and that makes it work trying for.