I've been reading a lot lately about the importance of routine for different writers. This got me thinking about my own routine. Do I actually have one? Would I be a more productive writer if I did have one? How easily am I swayed from my routine by other factors? All good questions which make me wonder.
In some ways I do have a routine. It tends to follow this pattern.
Early am - Deal with social media
am - write
Lunch - when hunger strikes
pm write and/or edit
evening - free time.
Now you will realise from this that I have no fixed set times for working. These timelines are fluid and flexible. This means that other factors can easily get in the way. So my plan is to write a more sensible timetable and stick to it. The idea is to see if I become a more productive writer and my output increases.
The last question is, how easily am I swayed from what I am doing by external factors is the one which I found most illuminating. I am the first to admit I am a bit of a social media junkie and I can very easily be swayed from what I am doing by notifications from various social media sites. I have come to realise that this can take up a large proportion of my writing day. Although I say that this can build up my fan base and allow me to interact with others, it is still time taken away from my core job which is writing. I recently attended the Cromarty Crime Writing Festival. During this Ian Rankin spoke about his writing routine. He writes on a computer so old, it has no internet action. This is a deliberate ploy so that he is not distracted by going on to the internet every five minutes. Whilst I appreciate that this is a great solution, I cannot see it working for me. As you can see from the photo above, I write on an iMac and I am not entirely sure I want to disconnect if from the internet. I can, however, switch off notifications. This should stop me responding to every message which comes through. He also said part of his routine is eating snickers bars. if I took that tip on board I would be the size of a house. So maybe I will need to think of something else.
I am also good at being distracted by friends and family who want me to go and do things. I am both an adventurous, and social person, so I usually respond by saying Yes. Maybe I should do slightly less of this, but in all honesty, often it can be put down to research. I may be out but I am always thinking about things which could go in a book.
I have discovered I am a person who likes a clean and tidy desk in order to write. This is illustrated of the picture of my writing desk above. I have a very large office, but one part of it is a utility room. Given I live in Scotland there is a lot of inclement weather which means my washing is hanging up in my office, drying. Thinking about this, it really irritates me and puts me off my stride. In future I am going to hang the washing up elsewhere. One less distraction and more time for writing.
So I am off to put what I have discovered in to practice. For all my reader friends I hope you have found this glimpse into a writer's life interesting. To all my writer friends I will leave you with two questions. What distracts you? Do you have a writing routine, and if so what is it? Please share in the comments below and help other writers, myself included.
Bye for now Bookaholics. See you all back here soon.