It was important for me to create a routine when it came to my writing.
Having a lightweight netbook helped me to carry around my novel wherever I went, but it also gave me the illusion of always being able to write.
But I couldn’t write when I was working. Or when I was driving. Or when I was too tired from work and driving to keep my eyes open.
I thought I had all this time to create, but instead I painted myself into a corner, making myself feel guilty about not churning out words when, in reality, there was no time to do it.
So I wrote in the morning, right after I woke up and brushed my teeth.
When I had days off, I would put on normal clothes, take my netbook downstairs, and write. If I kept my pajamas on and write like I often do in my bed, I felt sleepy all day, less productive; bad bad bad.
And now, a subset of routine: breaks. Take them.
I got into the habit of work equals reward.
I’d get up, get dressed, eat while watching something on NetFlix, and then turn off the TV. If I wanted to see what happened next on Sons Of Anarchy (FYI: fucking awesome show), I had to finish a certain scene or achieve a certain wordcount range (not a specific number). I went through this cycle multiple times. TV, write, more TV.
It was a way to institute breaks, which my brain desperately needed.
Sometimes it wasn’t TV, though. On my last day of writing, when my brain felt dead, I simply closed my netbook, pulled on a blanket, and closed my eyes. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t think. I just needed to stop.
And then, magically, about forty-five minutes later, I opened my eyes, drank some water, opened my netbook, and went back to it.
Take breaks. This doesn’t mean forget about your novel. It does mean be kind to yourself and listen to your body. Hint hint: your head counts as a part of your body. Writing through a headache sucks.
So, my friends, take breaks.
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