The new year is upon us and we've all made our resolutions and broken most of them by now, but that's not this is about. Yet, it is, sort of.
I was asked "How do you write? What is your routine?"
It was then I realized that I really didn't have a routine. I used to have one back when I worked full time before retirement. It was a simple thing.
I got to work in the morning, almost an hour before anyone else. I'd start the coffee and then I'd sit at my desk, headphones on, music blasting and I'd start writing. I loved the smell of the coffee as it freshly brewed, the aroma permeating everything. I'd get some heavy writing done. As my co-workers showed up, I get my 2nd cup of coffee, take my meds and search for the right donut or bagel that was brought in. Come lunch time, it was a quick jaunt to get either a salad, sandwich, sushi, or some Chinese and hustle back to the office, close the door, put on the headphones and again start to write until my hour was up. I'd print out what I'd accomplished and file it in my briefcase so on the trip home via the train I could perform some edits. I'd enjoy the evening with the family and then about 9:30pm, after the boys were in bed, I'd sneak away for an hour or two of writing - yes, wearing those headphones. Sometimes, if it was a good night, I might work until 1am. Then it was into bed to snuggle with my wife and dream about going to work the next day... yeah, right.
The only thing that keeps me straight regarding time is simple: 6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday. Time is a blur. I have to a calendar and figure out which day it is and sometimes, what week. There is no routine, no habit, per se. I get to come and go as I wish. In fact, I can spend upwards of all day at the computer and get absolutely nothing accomplished.
Somebody told me that habits are threefold: cue, routine, reward.
For me, the early morning cue was the scent of coffee brewing. My routine was to work about an hour. I knew I had an hour and then I had to do my day job. My lunch cue was getting something to eat. My evening cue was the boys going to bed. It was a habit.
Because I knew I time restraints, I made the best of those times. I now know my cue and I know the routine and have always known the reward. Reward? Sure, finished work. I was actually pretty proud of myself each day when I printed out what was new and needed to be edited.
Back to TODAY's reality and dilemma. I have no cue, no routine, and really, no reward since I tend to piss away my day.
I'm sure it will raise an eyebrow on my wife's face but I believe I will get myself a coffee pot to put on my desk and make coffee. The scent and the music is my cue and will put me in the proper frame of mind - my routine - and perhaps I will have the reward of writing something. If nothing else, I will get a pot of hot coffee.
For those who want to establish a habit. It must be repeated daily, approximately the same time each day for 3-5 weeks. By then, it should be ingrained and it will feel natural.
Who knew being in a rut would be the answer?
Until next I ramble on...