I’m not really one for routines, mostly because not every day carries the same amount of writing inspiration. Don’t get me wrong, I advocate for writing even when you don’t really want to, but I also know that I’ll get more done if I let myself be flexible.
If I do have routines, though, they all revolve around this furry little monster:
Now, I’m not a morning person. I never have been. Just so we’re clear. But the reason I drag myself out of bed every day is to let the dog out.
8:30ish: The usual exchange in my house is
Husband: Good morning
Me: What’s so good about it?
(This is mostly a joke.)
Then I let the dog out. I make the exact same cup of tea every single day: loose leaf chai, 200 degrees Fahrenheit, splash of milk, spoonful of honey. I heat up the milk so it doesn’t cool down the tea. Then I get my cereal and sit in front of this bad boy.
This is a light therapy lamp. Most people use them for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but I use them to regulate my body’s production of melatonin. (Basically, I use it to keep myself from getting too sleepy in the middle of the day and not sleepy enough at night.)
I eat breakfast, read, drink tea, and absorb white light until…
10:00 am—Exercise time. Again: not a routine person. I run, swim, box, spin, jump rope, salute the sun, whatever feels right.
11:00 am—The monster is restless.
So I take her for a walk around the neighborhood. I come back and shower, then eat a second breakfast, usually yogurt.
11:00 am—Emails. I get a lot of emails. I answer as many as I can, then poke my head into some of the places that readers get in touch with me on social media: Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, or my public email address. I try to respond to some messages there, too.
12:30 pm—Writing time. I don’t set word count goals. They work for some people, but for me, they make me tread water, so to speak, with my writing. I end up with bloated scenes that have too much filler. Instead, I’ve divided my outline up into scene numbers. Here’s a peek:
I try to tackle at least one scene a day. Sometimes they’re long, over twenty pages. Sometimes they’re as short as three or four. Sometimes this takes me an hour, and sometimes it takes me five. I take breaks after thirty minutes to stretch, go to the bathroom, drink water, or have a snack.
3:00 pm—Lunch? Does frantic scrambling in the kitchen for baby carrots and a cheese sandwich really count as lunch?
5:00 pm—I’m about ready to call it quits…sometimes. When I’m in a really good creative groove, I write for as long as I possibly can, sometimes as late as 3:00 in the morning. My family is very understanding.
5:00 - 10:00 pm—Usually this is what I call “people time.” I hang out with friends, or with my husband, or with my family. I watch movies or TV, or I read.
10:00 pm—Journal time. I make a list of the things I want to get accomplished the next day. Then I read, or catch up on news.
12:00 pm—I go to bed…sort of. I have an anxiety disorder, and it makes sleep really difficult for me. Sometimes I fall asleep at 12:00, but sometimes it takes me a few hours (in which case I get up and do something else for awhile, because you’re not supposed to lay there frustrated for too long).
That’s my usual day. Sometimes, though, if I’m lucky, I get to do that afternoon writing spree with a friend…
Or in a different place entirely, since I travel a lot for work.
But most of the time she stays home.
I love traveling, but my best times are always at home. Can you blame me, when home looks like this?