Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Same old, same old

PB&J, photo by spcbrass cc license: CC BY-SA 2.0

I'm not a person who likes change very much. My mother used to tell a family story about my routines and habits centered around my lunches: She would make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day during my elementary school years. One night at dinner, my father commented that maybe she should make me more varied food and for the next week, she made something different (that I generally enjoyed and would eat) for me to take.

After several days of this (to my mind maddening) variety, I broke down and cried at the dinner table. "Why can I have PB&J anymore? Don't you love me?"

Needless to say, we returned to the lunch routine.

With a history like that, you might think I wake up at the crack of dawn and sit down to write two hours a day between 7 and 9, like clockwork.

You'd be wrong.

I like predictability but not rigid structure. Do I write everyday? Yes and no. I am always thinking about some aspect of my job as a writer. Some days its a matter of studying a point of craft. Other days, it's cranking my 1K new word goals on a new story. Still others, it's editing or providing critique for a colleague. Part of my work as a writer is reading and creating blog posts, so all that counts, too.

But I don't organize my day according to a specific routine.

Part of that is because of my temperament, part is because I also have other hats I wear, including parent, which makes mock of any attempt at a perfect routine.

I think there is sometimes an unfair conflation of discipline with routine. As if one can't be disciplined without following a specific schedule. To my way of thinking, finding the way that works for you that gets you to 'the end' means you have discipline.

Does this mean I NEVER follow a routine or a schedule? Of course not. I just have a more loose interpretation of routine. I'm also willing to try new structures if something isn't working well.

And lest you think I am incapable of flexibility, I'll have you know that I left PB&J's for lunch behind with my childhood. In college I ate a sesame seed bagel with tuna salad and swiss cheese. Every day. For four years.

Today’s post was inspired by Forward Motion’s Merry-Go-Round topic,  ”Writing Routines”.  If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and read about their ideas, then check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.

1 comment:

  1. I also mentioned the early-me obsession with bologna (before PB&J)! It looks like you know your sandwiches.

    I agree that people connect hard and fast discipline with routine. Good point.