I’ve been thinking a lot about routines lately. Kids need them, but why? Some quick research tells me that routine gives kids a sense of “security” and “self discipline.” I think it gives the same sense of security to adults…and to dogs.
My dog is an adorable wack-a-loon when it comes to her routine. We live in a loft space with our bedroom upstairs. If we forget to bring the dog’s bed down at around 8pm, she’ll take herself upstairs and put herself to bed. It’s hilarious. As she’s going up the stairs, her little doggie body seems to be saying, “Time for bed” or “I’ve had enough of you humans” or “I’d rather dream about chasing squirrels.” Whatever it is, 8pm hits, and she’s outta there.
Back when I was more of a comic instead of a writer, I had very late hours. Often it was common for me to come home between 1 and 2am. I would wake up the next day around 10am. Sometimes earlier if I had a lot of work, but almost always by 10am. Now that I write more than do comedy, I’m up by 730am. I start writing somewhere between 8am and 9, depending on what I have to do first.
I like this morning ritual a lot. I’ll make coffee, sometimes drive Wifesy to work, and then I’ll sit at the computer and type, type, type.
When I first started this blog, my thought process was let’s do the blog post first thing. I wanted to get it out of the way. Currently, I’m writing twitter jokes first and scheduling them to publish throughout the day and then I write my blog post. It’s not easy to make myself go back to the blog after all that, but go back I do. With the blog and twitter done, it’s any other writing or promotion I have to do next. Before I know it, Wifesy is home or it’s time to go pick her up.
I quite literally have no problem writing all day. I’m not saying it’s all good. I’m simply saying that writing for 8 hours a day is not a problem for me, as long as there’s a mental break or two in there to help me recharge. My mental breaks usually consist of me making some lunch and throwing on, “House Hunter Renovations” or something similar.
Routine gives me a feeling of things moving forward. It gives me this sense of a body of work growing and a craft being refined. That’s why I’ve always found it amazing when other people have said to me, “Oh, I have to have a day-job in order to create at all. If I have a (non-creative) day-job then I have structure and I can create in my off-time.”
In my off-time, I’m just off.
I’m not saying one is better than the other and everyone has to do what’s right for them, but -for me- creating a working schedule that consists of me writing is the ONLY way that anything happens. If I don’t have a certain amount of ACT (ass in chair time) then nothing improves or happens. I guess you could say it gives me a sense of security over my work. It’s why I like blogging so much and posting on a (close to) everyday basis.
There was a comic who I used to know that I’ll call, “4pm.” I’m calling him 4pm because that’s what time he got up everyday, literally. I could never function that way. I know he thought it was cool. He was a comic. He had this great job that never circled around a 9 to 5. However, for me, all I could think was, “WHEN IN THE FECK DOES HE GO TO THE POST OFFICE??!!” I just couldn’t imagine running my life at the opposite of the 12 hour clock from everyone else. Mainly because a reverse schedule means running errands would be ridiculously hard chore to get done. Stupid reason, maybe, but for me routine makes me feel more in control…of life. And more…writerly.
What about you? What makes sense to you? Routine or improvisation?
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