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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

#IWSG - Routine

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and time for the Insecure Writers Support Group. The purpose is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! A big THANKS to Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this group and keeping it going. And thanks to this month's awesome hosts Chemist Ken, Suzanne Sapseed, and Shannon Lawrence!



Routine: Good or Bad

When I go to the fitness club, I always start with the same weight machines. Are you surprised that I belong to a fitness club? Hubs & I joined after my physical therapy following knee replacement ended. And it’s a benefit of our Medicare supplement insurance. Age has some benefits. LOL

As I’ve often said, Hubs “drags” me to the club around 11 am, three times a week. Usually. Since lifting weights or walking on a treadmill are mindless activities, if I didn’t have a routine I wouldn’t remember if I forgot to use a certain machine.

I have a routine for my writing, too. I’m at my most creative first thing in the morning. (My family still can’t believe that. I used to be a night owl.) After I get up, I get my cup of coffee from the Keurig then open my laptop. As it boots up, my eyes begin to focus. Then I’m ready to write. I read the last few paragraphs from the day before then away I go. Usually. I love the quiet while Hubs is still asleep. No TV. Just me and, sometimes, the construction workers on the new house next door, which I can ignore.

I like the routine of my Monday Morning Musing blogs. The first Wednesday for IWSG works well for me, too. But with the other blogs where I’m a regular contributor (Roses of Prose and Paranormal Romantics) I really need my calendar. There’s only so much data I can keep in my mind. A hazard of getting older. LOL

There’s comfort in routines. But they can be restrictive. The trainer at the fitness club suggested changing the routine so it doesn’t become boring. That really doesn’t work for me. When Hubs wakes up early, just his moving around distracts me from my writing. When he turns on “The Today Show” I can’t write anymore. I could just go downstairs to my “real” office, but that would break my routine. Maybe I’m getting stuck in my ways.

How do you do with routine?


Click here to find others on the Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop. Or go to IWSG on Facebook to see who’s blogging today.

75 comments:

  1. I agree! Both with the exercising routine and the writing. I've also found that on days where my routine is messed up, it really throws me off. Too many messed up days, and I'm back to building my routine up again. But it does help me get things done ;). Great blog!

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    1. Thanks, Marie. You're right. Routine does help to get things done. :)

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  2. I work better with a routine as well. I've got the writing routine thing down, but the exercise thing still eludes me.

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    1. If it weren't for Hubs, I'd let exercise elude me, too.

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  3. It is a hard balance for me too, between routine and trying to accept the fact that Life Happens. I find that I really need some routine, but at the same time reality demands I be flexible - and then I'm trying really hard to get back on track. Good points.

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    1. Thanks, Anne. Good point about Life Happening. When it does, it's hard to get back to a routine.

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  4. Routine is comforting, and yes, it is good for us to step out of it once in a while. It opens new doors and creative flow.
    Play off the Page

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    1. I hadn't thought of that, Mary. Thanks for the reminder that too much routine can stifle us.

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  5. I used to be excellent on a routine, and when I got derailed I kept trying to get back to it. Then I realized it wasn't working for me because I'd hit a wall with routines in my daily life, where I was getting bored with it all, and frustrated. So now I do what I can, when I can, and I'm producing once more. I figure whatever works! I'm also a total night owl. It gives me hope to think someday I might be on a "normal" schedule. I function best when other people are winding down.

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    1. You're right, Shannon. Whatever works. Thanks again for co-hosting this month.

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  6. Diane! This is so me. I live by my schedule and if anything, ANYTHING, throws me out then I waste a whole day trying to recover. Same with writing. I have to do my "thing" that gets me ready to write. Then it has to happen consistently every day or I'm a mess and can't function. Sad, but true. I even quit subbing because it's too unpredictable and I didn't write for the 5 months I did it.

    Let's just stick to our schedules, shall we?

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  7. I wish I was a morning writer, but I hate mornings. Haha! I'm more of an evening writing. :)

    I love routines, too. They are reassuring and relaxing.

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  8. Nothing about my writing is routine. I squeeze it in whenever I can. I draft or revise based on my whim at the moment, sometimes jumping around between chapters whenever I think of something new. One of the reasons I'm a slow writer, I suppose.

    Glad to meet another Michigander who loves Hogwarts!

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    1. LOL, Ken. It takes time to discover what works best. When is spring going to get here???

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  9. Oh, I'm trying to get more routine about life in general these days - it seems like I threw everything out of whack when I injured myself a month ago, and I'm just getting it all back on track - finally.

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    2. Take care of your health, Tyrean. Without it, all the routines in the world won't help. Glad you're starting to back on track.

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  10. I've thought about trying to build an early-morning writing routine.. Get in 30 minutes before the rest of the world crashes in on my mental space. But I've never quite been able to make myself do it. Maybe I'll try tomorrow. Hm..
    I too like the routine of IWSG day. Also the accountability. That works for me too :)
    ~AJ from Naturally Sweet
    An April A-Z co-host

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    1. I like the routine of IWSG day, too. More importantly, it's the support everyone gives each other. So uplifting.

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  11. I definitely think routines are the best way to keep going. I know it can feel like it isn't very exciting, but I think without them, we fill up our time and stuff doesn't get done. I think though, we also need some flexibility... if something comes up, it can be rearranged. That way we can take advantage of the spontaneous good and cope with the crud without ending up too hard on ourselves.

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  12. I think writing routines are one thing, exercising routines are another. I'm a first thing in the morning person, too.

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  13. I find myself longing for change to routine and then when it happens I wonder what I was thinking. I've developed a terrible habit of not working in my office and I am thinking I will be more productive if I get back in there.

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    1. I keep saying that, too, Doreen, and never go. LOL

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  14. Stephen King once said that writing is a form of hypnosis, and that if you write for the same amount of time everyday, at the same time everyday, you will get more and more productive during that time. It will become a habit.

    I think routines can be good, as long as they don't hinder you. If you can write in the evening when your husband disturbs your morning routine, great. But if you can't, you may want to change things up. Either that, or tell him he has to be quiet until your writing time is over. :)

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    1. By the end of the day, my creative energy got up and left. LOL Hubs is so sweet about my writing time that I can't tell him to go somewhere else to read the paper and drink his coffee.

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  15. I like routines very much. It seems that my routines keep me running like a machine, and doing a change up is like tossing in a wrench. :-)

    Here's my link if you'd like to drop by :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

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    1. I agree, Anna. It's like I can't think of what to do. Loved your post today.

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  16. I used to have a routine. I had to change it due to life circumstances and it was hard. I finally settled into something doable and I feel it works. I like consistency. =)

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    1. Consistency makes things so much easier. Glad you found something doable.

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  17. I am a creature of habit, so I understand. (Maybe that does come with age.) When I'm writing, it's in the evening for two to three hours no matter what.
    As for the gym, the trainer is right I'm afraid. You have to change up the routine now and then and work on new muscles. Otherwise your body gets used to it and you don't burn as many calories.

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    1. Thanks for the advice, Alex. :( I guess this old dog needs to learn how to use other machines.

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  18. I'm always changing my routine. Find it makes life more exciting. I'm glad you have a solid writing routine. I have to get out of the house and write in a coffee shop a few days a week, and the library at other times.

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    1. I'm glad you found what works for you, Denise. I know a lot of people who go to coffee shops and/or libraries to write. They say they're very productive.

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  19. Routines would be great, but I have a 9 year old...so....

    It's true you could get bored. A little change isn't bad.

    Heather

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    1. I couldn't have this routine if my children were young. And when the grandkiddies visit, routines get tossed out the window. :)

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  20. Personally, I need a little more routine than I have. I'm usually most productive at night when the rest of the family goes to bed (and the cats hopefully leave me alone). I believe if you get yourself on a routine you can have more control over when you get inspired to create. Like you said, you were a night owl who switched to mornings, and it worked for you. Something tells me I'll be a lot more productive with a stricter routine, as well as designated 'play' times in between. Great post!

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    1. Thanks, Donelle. I didn't switch from night owl to morning lark on purpose. LOL

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  21. I've always been a morning person. Routines help me accomplish more, but I'm getting better at adapting to the monkey wrenches of life. They don't completely throw me off anymore.

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  22. Um wow. On the weekends, I have (attempt to have) a quiet hour before my boyfriend wakes up and turns on the TV. I find the TV extremely distracting. But I do the same thing: coffee, open laptop, read last few paragraphs and go. It's my routine, and God help you if you make me do something else, like getting an oil change or going out for breakfast. I like writing as soon as I wake up, hence the silent ninja moves I use to creep out of bed. I CRAVE that first hour of silence.

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    1. Silent ninja, huh? Maybe I should try that.

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  23. I sort of have a routine. Sort of. I prefer to write at night, but I've been trying to change that more to the afternoon. I always read as I'm falling asleep at night. But my job (retail) changes hours and shifts every week, so maintaining a strict routine isn't really possible.

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    1. You do what you have to do, Michelle. I read at night before going to sleep, too.

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  24. Routine works well for me, but I think it's important to mix it up a little. And I usually do the same workout at the gym, but they say you should work different machines and different muscles. I should probably stop falling back on what's most comfortable. I guess it's all about balance, no?

    Thank you for finding my blog and commenting, Diane. Great to meet you.

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    1. You & Alex are ganging up on me about changing my exercise machines. LOL I'm so happy to meet the lady who got Meryl Streep to appear on her blog. ;) If that doesn't entice people to rush over to your blog, I don't know what will.

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  25. Very interesting post. I do most of my social networking stuff in the mornings while I watch some news. For years as a teacher and mother, I did my writing after the kids went to bed. Now I don't have those restrictions, I still do most of my writing late at night. Guess I need routine like you.

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    1. Funny, Susan, I do my social networking in the evenings (usually) while watching TV. Whatever works, right?

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  26. I like my routine, but there are times I have to vary it or go mad. Besides I understand that varying just some simple habits lays down new neuro- pathways in that muddled brain of mine. I could use more of those.

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  27. I agree that routines are comforting. I'm all about following the muse, but the muse needs a little whipping from time to time and having a routine provides that whip. IMHO. So keep at it! :-)

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  28. I'm very much about routine, although sometimes I need to force myself to relax a bit because I can get uptight if my routine is messed up! I do 3 pages of free writing every morning, plus exercise and meditation so I'm definitely a morning person but sometimes I force myself to mix things up to help overcome this need for routine, and to remind myself that life just happens and things won't fall apart just because I've done things differently :D

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    1. I've been accused of being OCD (by my friend who says she's OCD). :) Maybe that's why I need routines.

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  29. It depends on the person. I can best define my life as organized chaos. I have no set pattern other than a generalization of how the day will go. So it's not so much a routine as just making a schedule of the chaos.

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    1. I like that, Diane. A schedule of chaos. :)

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  30. I used to write in the morning when my little guy was at preschool - because it was the only time I had. Now that he's in school all day, I haven't managed to keep myself as disciplined. I've started using a calendar that's just for my creative work - so I can make a list of things I need to do each day and stick to it. 2 hr delays because of snow don't make for good writing days - at least I mopped the floor and read a good part of a book. :)

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    1. Sounds like you made the best of a school delay. I find the more time I have he more I waste.

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  31. I really don't have a routine. I write when I can, but sometimes I have no idea how often that is.

    You should really mix up your exercise routine. Doing it the same way over and over means you get less of a work out over time because your body becomes used to it.

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    1. Okay, you & the others have convinced me to change up my exercise routine. I think I'll try a new machine today.

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  32. Routine is my thing. I must have some form of routine otherwise I just don't get anything done. I think it's because I get so distracted so easily.

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    1. Me, too, Lynda. Yesterday I had a doctor appointment early in the morning and I was off all day.

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  33. I like a certain amount of routine, then I like to mix it up a little, if that makes any sense. For instance, I'm also a regular at the gym, but I've got a variety of different classes I enjoy and if I'm on my own exercising my routine is never the same. Writing nowadays since I went back to working fulltime is whenever I can squeeze it in. And that's okay. For now.

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    1. Sounds like you've got a plan. Working full time does interfere with writing, doesn't it? :)

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  34. Hi, Diane!

    Routine can help make or break us. I guess, it's a matter of what you want/need to do that makes the difference.

    I used to go to the gym. Now, I just walk or run when I'm having mental block. :-) It helps.

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    1. Walking around here is dangerous one's health. LOL Too much snow and ice.

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  35. Being a creature of habit works for me, too. So does using headphones and instrumental music or a 'white noise' generator to block out the noise. ;)

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    1. Thanks for the headphones reminder, Melissa. I used to put them on during football games so I could write. I'll have to find them for mornings.

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  36. I like order, so I'm generally a routine type of person.
    But over time, that's changed. I dunno. Maybe it's part of the ageing process.
    ...and "they" say that change is good...
    I've been writing in spurts... snatching moments here and there...

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Michelle. Writing in spurts is better than not writing at all. :)

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  37. I hate routine. My hours recently changed at work from being very routine to being all over the place - and I love it! Every day is different.

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    1. That does sound exciting, Annalisa. Enjoy.

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