After reading this gorgeous article (link up here: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/11/20/daily-routines-writers/), I contemplated what I would say if someone inquired about my writing routine.
My "routine" is rather simple, I would say. I can write pretty much anywhere, but I prefer to be on a couch, in a hammock, or at a cute little coffee shop with cheap chai or hot chocolate. I write best when I am alone and accompanied by music. I prefer to write on my laptop rather than on a piece of paper. Sometimes I wish it was the other way around. Sometimes I wish I owned a feather and a little well of ink.
My days usually start around 9 a.m. My Microsoft Word document is up and running within an hour, and then I sit and I write. Normally for the rest of the day. Most of my works are completed in one sitting. I'm still not sure how much I love the editing process. I always want to get it right the first time.
My writing is often fueled by chai tea and inspiration from friends, family members, strangers, and people and places that do not exist. My brain is always working. Every day I mourn the ideas that I have lost because I was too lazy to write them down. I am still learning.
I do not scribble down ideas on a bulletin board or compose rough drafts. When I used to run track in high school, we got in that crouching position on our starting blocks and we waited . . . as soon as that gun went off, we all took off as fast as we could. I guess that's how I write. My practice comes in the form of reading, and then when I find myself in position at the starting blocks, per say, I go from there and I give it my all. I really feel like that's all I can do. I let it come naturally. Sometimes it's too hard for me to plan. Too intimidating.
Sometimes ideas for plays, poems, and short stories sit in my phone's Notepad app for months. Sometimes I get worried that I won't do the ideas justice--that I won't turn them into masterpieces. That is why, when I finally work up the courage to take that seedling of an idea and run with it, I can't bring myself to read it again for about six months. When I do open up that document again, I either surprise myself (I really wrote that? I'm brilliant!) or I disappoint myself (I really wrote that? What does that even mean?). Mostly, I try to surprise myself.
As a writer, I have good days and bad days. On my good days, the writing comes easily to me and I can produce a sizeable piece of work within a few hours. On bad days, you can usually find me writing, then playing on my iPhone, writing, then stuffing my face with sugar. At least I can say that I write everyday. I consider that to be hugely important. Enjoyable, too. As Terry Pratchett once said: "Writing is the most fun anyone can have on their own."
Perhaps I need a more rigorous writing routine, one that will allow me to stay on track throughout these next few months as I work hard to complete a manuscript and write my first musical. Or maybe what I'm doing is working. All I know is that writing is not easy--it may come naturally, but it's not easy. Writing is a courageous thing to do. With it comes sharing and honesty and many long hours spent stringing words together with the hope that people will appreciate how you chose to construct your sentences, how you chose to make words work.
I enjoyed reading Ben Franklin's evening question: What good have I done today? I don't think that question is off limits for anybody, especially writers.
We are a wonderful breed.
Fiction, poetry, and all that good stuff . . .