Since the day I decided to call myself a writer, I decided that writing needed to be treated like a job, and that meant a routine. I’m not great with routine. I’m a frazzled homemaker with ADHD and a long history of falling off the horse when it comes to building a support net for daily activities, but somehow what follows is working.
- Get the lunches made for the boys and husband and see them off. This is part of my writing routine because having a quiet house is important.
- Take meds. Without my ADHD meds I’m unfocused. Without my anti-depressants I’m obsessing over little hurts that happened six months ago. Taking both is like airing out a musty cabin.
- NAP. Yep, I built that right in. For whatever reason I get tired after I’ve been up for a couple of hours, so it’s off to bed where I dream up an idea or too and then sleep. I wake refreshed and ready to work.
- INSPO! This is where I listen to a short writing podcast or read an article or do some exercise from whatever MOOC I’m taking. It a) gets me in the mood and b) lets me spin my wheels a bit so that when writing time happens, I’m warmed up and ready.
- Write. Miraculously, I pump out about 1k words in an hour. I used to struggle to manage a quarter of that in long tortured evenings so… I don’t know what the hell is going on. I’m gonna ride that wave though. 1k is my minimum, but I’ll usually go a little over and often a lot over to finish a scene.
- Do the social media thing. No, not my fandom blog on Tumblr (I’m at work, remember?). I mean my writing-focused Twitter and this blog. I might also chat with some writer friends on Discord. I know the chatting is borderline, but it feeds my desire to write, so yup, it’s an official part of my routine.
- Daydream while doing housework. I usually do some chores in the morning before my nap, but there’s always lots to get done in the afternoon too, so I fold laundry while dreaming out the next scene, or some setting detail, or a new twist in the magic system.
- Write again! This is after supper, after my littlest has been tucked in, and I’ve helped my teen with his homework. This is fun writing time and because my brain is generally tired, I don’t work on the novel draft. I’ll work on short stories, fanfic, Tumblr blog posts, whatever.
- Sleep at a decent time. I learned the hard way this week that staying up until 2 am with a great book kills all ability to write the next day, so no more of that.
So there it is. I’m still puzzled about why this is so successful for me. Looking at it written out like this, I think it’s because it involves a lot of little things that proactively take care of possible roadblocks, like being tired. I still want to work meals into it, because I have a tendency to forget them, and a morning walk, since walks make the brain click in all the right ways, but that’ll come. For now, this does what I need it to do.