The Power of Routine
You know what I found out this morning? I can’t outlast my alarm. Actually, I tried. 11 minutes in, I gave up and at 5:11 AM, I got up and started my day. Wait. Back up. By “starting my day” I mean: I sat on the edge of my bed for five minutes and talked myself into moving. Do not mistake me for someone who hits the ground running, all smiles and enthusiasm. I am not a morning person.
Until about 5:15.
Then I’m awake. All systems are firing and I’m ready to go. You know…like a PC that’s a few years old. Great once it’s going, but don’t try to do anything until it’s ready. Yeah…that’s me.
Now, just over an hour later, I have gotten completely ready for the day, taken care of the dogs, made my bed, done my Power-5 Routine (my take-off of the Morning Miracle), journaled, of course had a cup of coffee and now, I’m here, blogging.
What does this have to do with my writing routine? A lot. This is how I ease into my day on Thursdays: Morning routine, journal, blog, write. This is especially important today because Thursdays are what I call Chaos Day. If I don’t get an early, powerful start, there will be no writing. At all.
My routine actually began last night. Before bed, I time-blocked my day and set my priorities. By doing this, I found the little nooks and crannies in my time where I could squeeze in writing work on a day I would otherwise consider shot. Then I set my priorities and climbed beneath the blankets.
This morning, I already knew what I needed to do. I already knew I couldn’t stay in bed if I wanted to win the day.
Now, it’s time to get down to writing.
Journaling and blogging are a good way to get my mind in the flow. As I open my document, my brain’s already in creativity mode.
Now, the actual pre-writing checklist for whatever time of day I write.
1. Get my coffee (now, really, you didn’t think that wouldn’t be #1, right?)
2. Start my wax-melter or light a candle. I default to cinnamon while writing. It sparks my brain.
3. Put on my headphones and cue my playlist. I listen to the same thing every time I write. My brain zones out and I don’t even hear it, but it tells my brain “okay, this is writing time.”
4. Put my phone on do not disturb and put it in another room. Early in the morning, this isn’t much of a problem, but for writing later in the day, phone calls and notifications will start coming in and knock me off-pace.
5. Turn off my internet. Trust me. This is important. If you just jump on for “research”, you will find yourself lost in email or Facebook (or your social media of choice) and not even know where all your time went. Oh, this is just me? This would never happen to you? Hmm…okay then.
6. Open my document. I use Scrivener now. Life changing. I’ll be posting on that at a later date.
7. Read my reminders:
* This is as bad as the story will ever be
* You will fix it later
* Just write and get out the story
* Don’t get it right. Get it written.
8. Read the last few lines of yesterday’s writing. Check my outline.
9. Turn on my cued playlist (see #3)
10. Write until my designated end time.
And that is all. No special magic. Just specific routine. I hope this gives you some insights and some tricks to help you supercharge your day.
Have a great one!