Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Routines...Who Needs Them!


How important is repetition in an artist’s way of life? I mean, is the writer who sticks to the same routine every single day more successful in their writing?

Haruki Murakami states, “When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at 4:00 am and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for 10km or swim for 1500m (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at 9:00 pm. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind. But to hold to such repetition for so long — six months to a year — requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity. (The Paris Review, Summer 2004See also: "The Running Novelist," The New Yorker, June 9, 2008)

“My own schedule is pretty clear-cut,” writes Stephen King. “Mornings belong to whatever is new – the current composition. Afternoons are for naps and letters. Evenings are for reading, family, Red Sox games on TV, and any revisions that just cannot wait. Basically, mornings are my prime writing time.” (http://theadventurouswriter.com/blogwriting/stephen-kings-writing-tips-how-write-better-book/)

Danielle Steel states, “For those of you who also write, I always say that there is no one ‘right way’ to do it (or anything in life). Some people write half a page a day and agonize over each word and sentence. Others write pages and pages, and that’s fine too. Whatever works. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else’s writing style or habits. We each do whatever works best for us. (http://daniellesteel.net/blog/2009/02/writing/)

Personally I have never held to a writing routine…but then again I have yet to finish my novel and get it published. So that makes me wonder just how effective it is to set a writing schedule.

My first thought is do I even have the ability to set a scheduled writing routine that I could honestly stick to? Does life even allow for such a thing? If you are NOT a published writer who is gaining financial funding from previously published books, are you able to do that?

As for myself, I work 4 nights one week and then 3 nights the next. I have three children (four if you count the husband…which I totally do!) and I go to school. So when ever can I say in all honestly…I’m going to sit down and write for three hours every day at 7am? (Or something like that?) I totally could never do that.

But I do believe there is still an opportunity to find a steady writing routine. One can say I will write 1000 words every day. If you do that then at least you will be working towards something. I don’t believe you write a full blown perfectly written novel in 90 days but at least you will have a great first draft to sift through and pretty up.

So to chew on my own words I am going to set my own writing routine ‘promise’ to engage in at least 1000 words every day. That is a minimum quota and I fully expect to write more on some days. But I won’t beat myself up if I don’t write anything of excellent quality and if I end up using it as a lighter to light my candle or if I want to let my imaginary dog eat it so what? At least I wrote something. That’s more than you can say…
I've enjoyed browsing through some of the sites available that encourage both writing spontaneity as well as routines that writers must hold to. I think that the best advice is my own advice....
If your way is producing effective writing pieces...you are doing something right. If your method is not producing anything....go try something new IMMEDIATELY!

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