Rumor has it that I write a blog…I somehow forgot about that since around the end of September.
Not really…Truth is it’s been gnawing at my conscience for months, that something I was so passionate about just a year ago was being so thoughtlessly neglected.
Some of you may know, others not, but during the fall my parents came to live with me for almost three months while my mom had radiation treatment at Duke. This was a huge lifestyle change for all of us, but I’m happy to report that thanks to some good anti-depressants (as well as Xanax), we all got along fine and I only cried once (just ONCE!).
However, I also wrote nothing of any value for anyone (except, if my boss is reading this, everything I was writing for my day job for my clients; promise!).
One of the most popular “tips” for writers who are stuck is to shake up your routine, do something different. Find a new place out in the world to write. Use a pencil instead of a laptop. Listen to a different kind of music. In fact, I think I wrote a post about that right here on this very blog.
Well, here’s something else a writer needs: routine. Inspiration (in writing or in life) doesn’t come just from experiencing the new and novel; it comes in the comfort of a daily schedule that is tried and true, in the place you call home, during the quiet times at the end of the day (or for some of you, at its beginning). When you are in familiar surroundings, where you can quiet your mind and snuggle down into your favorite chair, you can dream and fantasize about things you could do differently, things you wish for, places you’d like to go, and build the imaginary world inside your head where your writing can take shape.
When every day is unexpected and new, with a different schedule to follow, with time compressed to the blink of an eye so that you can’t even find time for the basic activities that keep your mind and body healthy and happy—cooking, working out, keeping house, paying bills—there is just never a time to search your soul for excitement, joy, creativity and adventure.
There’s something to be said for doing the same thing in the same way most of the time. It’s the reason writers are told to write for an hour every day no matter what. It’s the reason we’re told practice makes perfect. It’s the reason kids are given homework. A daily routine provides calm and focus (and time) so we can enjoy some playtime and live more creatively. It also helps us to better identify potential for change, to be excited by something (or someone) new, or to recognize a good opportunity that might only come around once.
And that’s the reason we have weekends: to draw outside the lines and do things a little differently. And hopefully, for me in 2012, to write.