Wicked Wednesday-Back to Basics

Jessie: Enjoying the crisp air and perusing knitting patterns!

acrylic-paints-174638_1920This month we are exploring the theme of going back in some way or other. Today I am wondering about the basics in your writing lives. Do you have a routine that provides the basis for your work? What about recurring themes that can be spotted in most of what you write? Do you have some basic supplies you have to have on had to do your best work? What about snacks?

Edith: I definitely have a basic work routine. Being a lifelong morning person, I’m always awake before seven and usually before six. I make my coffee and hit the upstairs home office. I need about an hour of catching up on the internet (email, blogs, facebook, and saying good morning to Dru Ann Love). No matter what time I got up, without fail at a few minutes before seven I check in on Ramona DeFelice Long‘s Facebook sprint post and report for duty. She has a group of loyal writing champions (her term) who also check in. We then turn off all distractions and write for an hour, whether first draft or revisions. It’s a great start to my workday and a lovely support network. Thanks, Ramona!

Liz: I definitely have basic snacks…potato chips to get me to and through a deadline. As for routine, I try to write at least something in the morning before work so I feel like I’ve jumpstarted the day. Otherwise, I wind up feeling behind and then it’s feels harder to catch up later on. And at least five days a week, I do either yoga or a class at the gym. It definitely helps keep my creativity and energy levels up!

Barb: I have been thinking about basics a lot lately. There were things I did early on, using brainstorming techniques, building character bios, analyzing the text from one revision to the next, that I don’t do anymore. Were these activities–

  1. Scaffolding techniques that I needed when I was teaching myself to write a book that I don’t need anymore?
  2. Forms of active procrastination because I didn’t know what to do next? OR
  3. Thinkwork that improved and deepened my writing?

I honestly don’t know the answer, but I have vowed to make time with my next book to revisit some of these old activities and see if they add to my stories.

Julie: I am in the process of re-imagining my life and working from home, so this is a topic I’m thinking a lot about. So far I have been a failure at balance, working 15 hours a day. That has to stop. Also, I’m considering how I reconnect, realign, with my purpose rather than creating work to find a purpose. What can I do to make that work? Habits I’m trying to reinforce include meditating 15 minutes a day, writing 2 scenes (at least) a day, moving 30 minutes, spending an hour on my writing business life. I’m working on getting my new business off the ground, so the rest of the day (and a lot of the night) are spent on that. Hopefully once the school launches I can create more space,and work on balance. In that phase, I want to think about my writing, and my next creative challenges.

Sherry: As much as I’d love to settle into a routine, I’m not very good at them. However, since I’m adding the new series to my writing this year. I’m trying to settle into two writing periods each day. One in the morning starting at ten and one in the afternoon starting at two. I like writing in the afternoon best. As for snacks — I have to have popcorn!

Readers, what are basic staples, routines and pleasures you see in your own lives? 

25 Thoughts

  1. Just taking each moment as it comes, here, seeing how many of the 12,442 (again) emails I can clear before heading into town for a FULL day while trying to decide to go/stay with Florence approaching. I live in a 14’x48′ “mobile” home with large trees around it and the ground is already saturated by days of rain.

      1. Beautifully clear morning at 6 am on September 13. Several years back I evacuated to Baltimore and would have been better off just staying home as storm surge crept into the motel room! Keeping an eye on weather reports. Thank you for your good thoughts.

  2. The focal point of my writing process: I write at my father’s desk, a knee-hole type that I remember from the 1950s, when I was small enough to climb under it. It’s situated not in a room, but on a landing on the second floor of my house, with a window on the street and a view of the downstairs. I’ve certainly used other desks in my life, but I didn’t sell anything until I started using this one. Apart from that? An early start (my father was a morning person) and plenty of coffee (which was another of my father’s preoccupations–he kept more than one percolator in reserve, in case the current one gave out). The routine? Up early, read paper, drink coffee, settle at the desk, and I’m good until lunch. Afternoon is for mechanics, like designing bookmarks and postcards, correspondence, and work-related emails.

  3. Needless to say, my routine begins in the early morning. I’ve managed to figure out a balance between writing and work, but I do sit at a desk for many hours in the day. But I don’t feel as if I am denying myself of any pleasure or activities. I did take off the month of August from editing work. This threw off my schedule, and I thought I was losing my mind a time or two. I think I take after my father, who was happiest when working with his cows. My desk is my herd of cows, and I am most content there.

    1. I am already getting antsy about getting back to work, Ramona,vafter five days of vacation!

  4. It takes me longer to get going than it did when I was younger and more limber, but I’m still a morning person. I check email, blogs, and Facebook while I have coffee and toast, then work on the WIP on the pc if it’s new writing and by hand on a printout on the sofa or on the sceen porch if I’m revising, until lunch. Afternoons are more fluid, depending on where I am in the process and whether other obligations intrude, but they almost always include some time on the stationary bike and the series of stretches that keep various body parts from giving out on me. My reward for exercising is an apple and a chunk of dark chocolate (for the antioxidants, of course).

  5. My routine has shifted a bit since I’ve switched to working mostly at home. The morning (about 7:30 to 12) is day job stuff. I start the morning with tea, breakfast, and checking FB/blogs/email. I switch to my writing about 1:00 (assuming I don’t have any afternoon day job meetings). Since I don’t have any distractions, I can get my day job responsibilities done in about five hours and that frees up my entire afternoon. Lucky for me, that’s my best productivity time for fiction.

    Oh, and the other basic? A cup of hot tea, no matter the weather!

  6. I am already getting antsy about getting back to work, Ramona, after five days of vacation!

  7. Now that I’m basically retired (does anyone ever really totally retire anymore?), I have either discarded or just lost most of my routines. And, for the most part, I like that. However, I do have a much shortened routine in the morning of feeding all the critters, inside and out, taking my meds, doing a few minutes of meditation and then checking out my email, a forum I love, and of course, this blog! If I don’t get this routine in in the morning, the day seems discombobulated all day.

  8. Cool to hear other writers’ routines! Mine changes daily (meaning I’m not good with routines!) But I do write every day, and hit the gym three times a week. And I consistently drink coffee — lots of coffee!

  9. Once I’m at work & at my desk I must have a cup of hot tea. I can’t even turn on my computer to check emails with out that tea already made. The day just feels off without that cup first thing.

    1. You are the second tea lover to comment! I like tea in the afternoon instead of the morning. It perks me up between lunch and quitting time! I also love a cup of herbal tea before bed. As a matter of fact I think I will go make a cup of peppermint tea right now!

  10. My furbabies keep me on a semblance of a schedule because they can tell time And, I have my hour a day that nobody is allowed to bother me, It’s when my soap is on.

  11. through a nasty quirk of fate, all the planes with business executives headed for Asia fly over our house between three-thirty and four-thirty. I’ve started the routine of getting up when they wake me, and writing for about two hours. I actually find I need less revision when I write that early. Then I make all the breakfasts and lunches needed for the day, see everybody off, and have more time to write before the next catastrophe hits. And Assam-nilgiri tea with milk is survival food for me.

  12. My routine is post my blog to Facebook. Post my morning greetings. Wait for Ramona’s morning greeting. And then head to work where I try to sneak in a few minutes of Facebooking.

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