Is Routine Your Friend?

Routine. Something that, as aspiring writer’s, we’re told is a great thing to have: get your writing routine sorted; allocate time for writing; get yourself into a routine. . . Only is it actually such a great thing? Maybe for some people it is, especially if you’re one of those scheduling/planner types. (I have nothing against such people; sometimes I’m one of them. Sometimes not so much though.) But as they also say, not everything works for everyone. I agree that making time for writing is important if you really want to give it a go, and finding out if there’s a time you work best at, sure. But. . .

The thing with routines is, they’re like climbing trees – often hard to get into, so easy to fall out of, and yet once you’re firmly up there you can also get stuck. How often do you hear about people trying to get out of a rut?

There’s more to it than that though (as usual!) If you get into the habit of writing at six o’clock in the morning on a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday say, then what happens when you miss those slots? Probably you feel bad, or off, and it throws you. What about if you have time on Saturday suddenly? Do you not even consider writing because it’s not one of your ‘days’, or do you jump in a make the most of it with a thrill of excitement for the treat? Once, I got into the way of thinking that I wrote best in the mornings, and if I tried to write anything later in the day then I was too easily distracted. . . This wasn’t true, or not always. It depended on all sorts of things, but because I’d got into the habit of thinking that way, I almost— strike that, I did miss out on writing at other times.

Maybe you need to get into the habit of writing, without making it a routine? Or like many things, I guess this is another that can be added to the list of ‘in moderation’. Routines, habits, mind-sets, etc., they can be useful – necessary even to some extent – but they can also be claustrophobic and limiting, making you feel bad when there are plenty of things to pull you down already. So, make use of them if they help, but if they don’t, don’t be afraid to fall out of that tree and try something new. It’ll only hurt for a little while.

One thought on “Is Routine Your Friend?

  1. I had a routine once. It wasn’t the planned out kind, I just sorta fell into the rhythm of writing certain amounts at certain times. The biggest problem I had was when it was ‘time’ to write, but I didn’t FEEL like writing. For no reason other than it was my usual habit, I tried to write anyway, and ended up staring at a blank screen for ages. Or, worse, I’d write a bunch of stuff which I just ended up rewriting later anyway, because my heart hadn’t been in it.

    Routine can be UNhelpful in both directions.


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