1. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Jul 7, 2016
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    My routine is off... help.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by deadrats, Nov 30, 2019.

    My writing routine is off. I used to write early mornings which proved to be quite productive for me. But now I'm sleeping in and writing at random times and I feel all scattered. I do balance several things. That can't change. I always have a short story in the works, and that's been my primary focus. I don't want that to change. My essays sell more than my short stories so I usually have one or two in the works. And then the novel... We've all got a novel in the works, right? It's not that I'm trying to do more or too much. In fact, I feel like I'm doing less or getting less done. I need the routine, maybe. I didn't realize how much I was benefitting from the routine until I lost it.

    I'm not sure I can easily go back to waking up early to write. I've been having trouble sleeping which means having trouble waking up early. When I write at night I tend to make more mistakes. And writing at night can lead to writing all night. It's just not when I produce my best work.

    I'm finding myself following random sparks of inspiration and writing accordingly. This is not a practice I want to follow. I'm all over the place with this. If I can't get back to my mornings, what's the next best thing? Word count? X amount of hours? Slot different projects for different days?

    Have you ever fallen out of your writing routine? How did you get back in it? Or what did you do instead? I'm still working, but it feels like I'm working all the time and sort of not working at all.

    To get back to my morning writing would mean I have to fix my life. That's too hard to do right now. But writing is really part of my identity and something I take seriously. So, why am I f**cking this up? I think I really need the productivity that comes with some sort of structure. I guess I'm also interested in finding some sort of structure that's not just write everyday. Help.
    jannert likes this.
  2. thiefacrobat286

    thiefacrobat286 Member

    Mar 15, 2016
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    New Braunfels, TX
    Inspiration comes and goes with me, and there are more days where I'm not productive than when I am productive. With me, the problem was I was being too ambitious, and so I began shooting smaller, and the problem stopped. My guess is maybe you're expecting too much out of yourself with some projects, maybe not all, but some of them. With me, I discovered that I wasn't ready to write novels, so I delegated myself to writing poetry and short fiction instead until I became more experienced. And then the problem kind of stopped, even though, yeah, it's still a little disappointing I guess. Learning is just part the process and it takes a lot of time to get the basics right.
    Richach likes this.
  3. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

    Jan 3, 2014
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    You need to develop the system that works for you and lets you produce. If that's working mornings, then you need to readjust your schedule to let you write in the morning. If you can't sleep, see your doctor. Ultimately, this is all about finishing saleable books. Do what you need to do to succeed.
  4. Aceldama

    Aceldama Senior Member

    Aug 1, 2019
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    I would highly recommend starting there. It makes sense that your writing routine would be off if there are personal issues you are dealing with. If something needs to be done, its best to take action immediately. You do not want a wrecked writing schedule to turn into not writing at all.

    I dont know the specifics and would rather not pry, but I'm more than willing to offer any worthwhile advice I can pertaining to issues that may not involve writing. At the very least, listen to you.

    Life is a struggle and the last thing anyone should do during our time here is become complacent, or lose the will to endure and fight.

    I heard Jordan Peterson say once that the essence of Jungs psychology was that the things people most need to find are found where they least want to look.
  5. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

    Mar 7, 2013
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    If you're dealing with personal issues that are very hard to fix, this certainly will disrupt your routine.

    You're such a dedicated writer, though. So maybe give yourself a bit of breathing space until you can either return to your old routine (which may or may not be possible) or find a new one. I think if you start to get frantic about it, you will be doing yourself no favours. Just accept that sometimes finding quality writing time, is difficult. If there are lots of things going on outwith your control, this can certainly affect your writing.

    Writing is more than just finding time to scribble or type words. It's also finding the time to think about what you're writing and to get enthusiastic about your ideas. If your routine is disrupted to the extent that you can't do that, or if you are unwell, or if you are having personal problems that you can't solve just now, you will struggle. But just give yourself a break. You KNOW you are a writer, and a prolific one at that. You'll get it back. Just seize the moments as they come, and wait for a new pattern to form.

    Maybe focus on the form of writing that requires less ...engagement? Something you can just churn out on demand, or work on in bits and bobs. The essays, maybe, as they are the ones you're selling at the moment? I suspect essays might be easier to come up with—and produce—in short bibbits of time than your more creative short stories and /or novel. At least then you'll feel more productive.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
    deadrats, Oz_brown and LoaDyron like this.
  6. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

    Oct 12, 2015
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    On the Road.
    Thinking of how my routine got disrupted this last year, I entirely sympathise. For me it was job change followed by location change and a complete lifestyle change.

    For about three quarters of a year I was all over the place. I thought about writing constantly (because damnit this is important to me!) but only seldom had the time or concentration to pull it off. But I couldn't turn off my brain when it wanted to engage my story, and it still followed breadcrumbs of ideas which I noted down to be used later.

    At around the halfway mark of my deployment I ruthlessly started a new schedule to give myself writing time. It was not my preferred time slot (I am a early morning and late evening writer), but I only had one possible slot and I seized it: I eliminated dinner and barricaded myself in my room instead.

    I am not as productive as I was before this deployment. Knowing that, and also knowing that I have neither the concentration nor the time to write on my novel, I did the next best thing: Learn the craft. I spent time on a writing course that lets me experiment, tried out techniques and fiddled with word choices, grammar, descriptions, settings, and fluency of language, all the small things that make a mediocre text into a better one. That said, I've produced some pieces I am proud of and that will stay in my story.

    In a very few short weeks, compared to the time I've been away on deployment already, I will be back. I will have my life—and time—back. And then, hopefully, I will be able to write better than I was before I've been away.
    deadrats likes this.
  7. Richach

    Richach Contributor Contributor

    May 21, 2019
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    Birmingham Uk
    Obviously I don't know you very well, but I think it is clear that you are dedicated and passionate about writing. It seems that you are, by all accounts, a high quality and productive writer.

    I think you have answered your own question. You are not able to write at your preferred and most comfortable time and this has unsettled you. I would, therefore, be careful of making further changes to your routine as this might just compound the problem.

    I think maybe demand less of yourself. Don't see this as a step backward, maybe just see this as an intentional choice that will, in the end, improve matters. You don't want to end up a high quality and productive writer who puts themself under pressure. That will only lead you to be a writer that is no longer producing quality and is just simply under pressure.

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