Routine Pleasures

It seems like whenever I resolve to post more about writing, it just doesn’t happen.

My packet was actually due this morning — I wrote down the wrong date on the calendar. But it was almost done and I got it in around noon and Tim was, of course, a champ about my space-out, which is only to be expected. This is my fourth packet; I believe the last one I talked about in any detail was number two. That’s because my third packet fictioneering consisted of the kind of crap you occasionally crank out in a novel when you know what happens in thirty pages, but not exactly what happens in the thirty pages you have to write now (I can’t write out of sequence, just can’t). I gave myself a couple of good breadcrumbs in those pages, but it was mostly treading water — some nice, entertaining dialogue, but where was the tension and action?

So, I spent this last month on tension and action. You know, making Actual Things Happen. Letting the antagonist(s) show up for work, etcetera. For a little while, I was feeling as if I hadn’t gotten enough done this month, but that was only until I remembered that I was expecting to have gone on to the next 50 pages or so rather than rework these. In reality, I messed around with a short story (that I still need to get into better shape soon), substantially reworking it, and turned out about 50 pages of mostly brand-new novel. That’s a pretty good month, all told. Especially since I did the PW piece somewhere in there.

I still feel like the slowest writer in the world, but, oh well. These pages are still a little rough, but better (I hope — will find out soon). The thing that turned it around was getting back to my lunchtime hour of writing in the corner at work with my headphones and no wireless. I probably wrote half of the new stuff this week and it was the key stuff. As a concept, I have always hated routine with its associations of boringness. But really, what is it except a rhythm you get into? I’m not advocating writing every day for every writer — I certainly couldn’t manage it forever. But.

It does make a real difference when you show up at the page most days. It really, really does.

Now, to keep doing it. Which should be somewhat easier because I mainly know what happens from here on out — when I stop working as much as I should be it’s because of one of two things: 1)too busy and stressed or 2)consciously or subconsciously hung up on some detail that always turns out to be much easier to solve While Writing Than While Thinking About It. On number one, I just have to keep doing the yoga, the magical, magical yoga and on two, well, I’ll fall down, but I need to remind myself it’s always eventually solved at the keyboard. Or while sleeping.

Now to figure out what the hell I’m submitting for the summer workshop (and write my fingers off on MN so I make my last packet of the semester really count) … something old, something new or something in between?

Anyway, cheers. Good weekend, everybody.

3 thoughts on “Routine Pleasures”

  1. Congratulations on finishing your packet! And a resounding “YES!” to the whole idea of a writing routine – it may sound more artistic to be hit by lightning-bolts of inspiration and write when it “feels” right, but what routine is all about is programming your subconscious into feeling like writing every day, so the more you do it (and the more consistently), the easier it becomes…at least for me, whenever I do manage to set up a consistent daily routine, it makes life (and writing productivity) an awful lot easier.

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