Friday, January 29, 2010

My Writing Routine

Do you find it helpful to have a routine to your writing? A rhythm?

I feel like I'm supposed to develop one. I mean, that's what I tell kids when they ask for homework tips. Designate a specific time and place for your homework. That way, it will become routine and it won't seem like such a chore.

So I try to follow my own advice and develop a writing rhythm. Up at four, feed the dogs, make coffee, write from 4:15 till 6:30, get ready for work, go to work.

Some days, that's how it looks.

This morning, it looked like this:

The alarm goes off at 4. Hit the snooze button three times.

Get up at 4:30.

Let three dogs out to go potty. Bring two of them back in. Holler myself hoarse for the third, who likes to lurk in the furthest and darkest part of the frozen yard and not come in.

Pour the last drip of water from the jug into the coffee pot, then search for the half-empty water bottles I know are lying around somewhere. Did I mention we have a water leak, so our water is shut off? Yup, no running water in the Dooley/Lilly house.

Call for dog again. To no avail.

Feed the cats.

Get chewed out by cats for not having any wet food.

Fill cat and dog waterer with the next-to-the-last of the half-empty bottles.

Step in waterer. Replace socks.

Call for dog again. To no avail.

Remember to put coffee in the filter.

Pin blanket that serves as office door open so the heat can travel, since the space heater is currently in the bedroom.

Plug in computer.

Call for dog. To no avail. Remember to push "start" on the coffee pot.

Re-tape computer with painter's tape so it will stay open.

Visit Yahoo mail, Google mail, 1 and 1 mail, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Verla Kay's Blueboards, Absolute Write, and Livejournal. Realize that 45 minutes have passed.

Hear an odd squeaking noise outside. Get scared. Then realize it's Dog Number 3. Let him in and feed him. Give other two now-whiny dogs an extra handful of breakfast to appease them.

Trip over angry cats.

Remember to pour a cup of coffee.

Now that so much time has passed, visit Yahoo mail, Google mail, and Facebook again to see if anything has changed. Squeeze in another trip to the Blueboards and LJ. Realize that another twenty minutes have passed.

Take a sip of coffee. Notice that it's lukewarm. Add hot coffee to warm it up.

Visit 1 and 1 mail and Twitter in case anything has changed.

Remove cat from revision notes.

Open novel file. Re-read two chapters to find your place and get your momentum.

Remove cat from revision notes.

Realize your fingers are too cold to type.

Take computer to bedroom. Sit on floor in front of space heater and type slowly and quietly to keep from waking partner.

Remove cat from revision notes.

Write one paragraph.

Remove cat from revision notes.

Write three more paragraphs. Remove cat from revision notes. Then realize it is 6:58.

Hurry to splash cold water on face from the last bottle, brush teeth, brush hair, and try to find some clothes that aren't covered in dog and cat hair. Put on pants. Remove cat from shirt. Put on shirt. Dust cat hair off of shirt. Remove cat from shoes. Put on shoes. Remove cat from jacket. Put on jacket.

Frantically look for coffee. Realize that it's cold. Chug it anyway.

Go to car.

Go back inside and turn off coffee pot.

Go to car.

Go back inside to get lesson plan book. Remove cat from lesson plan book. Go back to car.

Go to work.

Speaking of work, I want to share a couple more quotes from that nifty place with you, because they're totally worth it:


ME: "Hello!"

STUDENT: "Ms. Dooley, I'm sorry, but you're a terrible computer guy. 'Cause one time, on the bicycle computer game, you went straight instead of turning. But don't worry. I'll show you. You're not a terrible bicycle guy, you just have to learn to ride a bicycle. Just a bicycle on computer. And don't wreck when you, uh ... uh ... What was that word I was looking for? Oh, yeah. Just learn tricks and then just call ... just call ... Hey, do you know my phone number? Well, call me and I'll tell you how. I just live right up the holler if you need help."

ME: " ..." Cue crickets, chirp chirp!

STUDENT: "Hello! What are you doing? Why aren't we working?"


And my favorite quote from today:

STUDENT: "Miss Dooley, if you promise to leave, I'll fill in for you!"


Heather Kelly said...

That sounds a lot like my routine this morning-- that writing just didn't get done. I try to forbid myself to check mail etc., when it's writing time. But, even the best laid plans!

Jonathon Arntson said...

Damn Heather, you beat me.

I have no routine right now, which equals no writing getting done, which is equivalent to taking to over the world with Heather.

Marcia said...

Funny!! Recognized myself in plenty of these. And to think ALL THAT goes on before you even get to work. Scary, isn't it...

Floot said...

I'm sure I should have a routine. I'm certain it would help.

I'm not good at finding out how to make it happen though.