How do you cope when your routine is interrupted?

It’s the end of school holidays, and I’ve managed to get very little done in terms of writing-career progression or children-fun time progression. It would make complete sense to work towards accomplishing small goals in each area: an hour in the morning for work then an hour to the kids, a morning for work, an afternoon for the kids. It seems so simple!

We’ve all heard of the buddy system, but have you heard of the bud-i system?

When you go to a theme park and you want to go on a roller coaster, you grab your buddy, you egg each other on, and you keep an eye on each other so that you won’t get lost. When you get off, you’ve had your ups and downs, but you feel like you’ve done something. Gotten somewhere. This is what writing is like for me when I’m following my routine.

But with the bud-i system, my routine has been interrupted. It’s very much like going on those nauseating tea cup rides. I would come on with you, but I just ate a hot dog, but I like to keep my lunch down, but I  find it really rude placing my butt in crockery that a giant might have to drink out of one day.

Whatever the reason, with the bud-i system, you feel you are going nowhere, stuck on loop, feeling sick when it seems it will never end.

I have to work, but I have to spend time with the kids.

I have to spend time with the kids, but I have to work.

I have to work, but I feel guilty about not spending time with the kids.

So what do I do? I get stuck on loop and get neither done. And at the end of the day, I’m unfulfilled and nowhere closer to my goals, feeling sick about it and cranky. Which starts another loop led by But’s friend, Because.

I’m cranky and depressed because I didn’t write.

I didn’t write because I was cranky and depressed.

When the kids go back to school, I have to be wary of a new bud-i loop that’s been getting a little too cosy with my consciousness. That’s another thing, when I’m worrying about all the things not getting done, without getting them done, I have too much time to think.

I have to write today, but I have to get those agent queries started.

I have to get those queries done, but I have research to do.

I have research to do, but I have to write today.

They are all excuses; they are all crutches.

I wrote a post a few months back talking about how if I was going to take time off writing, I was going to make the most of that time. And that’s what I should have done.

Maybe I need a buddy to drag me back to the roller coaster.

How do you cope when your routine is interrupted? Hopefully, better than me 🙂




Can we increase our creative limit?

We all know that you can only do so much in a day. But like when you are able to fit in dessert even though you have finished a whopping great dinner, are you able to cram more into your day if we diversify?

When I started my blog, the ideas were flowing. I didn’t have time to think, and I didn’t really have to.  My blog posts provided an opportunity for me to be creative, while the revisions, edits and proofreading efforts on book one had become more mechanical than inspirational. Would I be able to polish my MS if I had to do this as well as 2000 new words a day on book two? Probably not, but the blog was a great way to keep new ideas flowing. I was diversifying my creativity, but I still had a limit.

As of today, I am right into book two. Not only that, I’m writing 2000 words a day and I’m doing it in three hours. And the best part is, I’m not unhappy with it: they are not just any old 2000 words.  But the inspiration for my blog posts is sadly drying. Am I pulling from a creative pool which is not infinite? Am I a pie chart and book two  is a fat chunk hogging all my creative space? While I’m forming this new routine, and pumping ideas into the storyline? Yes.

We can only stretch so far, so I wonder whether with creativity, we only have so much to give. I think this is the case, but I also believe that we increase our capacity. I know that a year ago I was struggling to get to 1000 words a day, and there is no way I would have had room for a blog as well.

What’s changed? Why do I hold such an optimistic view on the future of the pairing that is my blog and book? I hear a lot that writing is like building a muscle. And like building muscles, you can withstand more and more pressure with less effort as time progresses.

The best part about likening writing to muscle building, is that you can also refer to muscle memory. I spent two years building my writing capabilities and then three months ago, I put my routine on hold to polish my MS.  Now that I’m back into my writing routine for book two, I have been able to jump straight back in as though I’ve been doing this every day for two years. So like muscle memory with exercise, because I was continually stretching over time, I have been able to ease back in, and ease back in at a higher level than if I had never stretched this muscle before.

I’ve also noticed that I have more creative juice available as the mechanical process of writing has become more unconscious, allowing me to focus on the creative side of writing.

So, I have increased my creative capacity, but I still believe I am conscious of how much I have to give. If I pull too much in one direction, something is going to give, and at the moment, I can’t afford for that to be the quality of book two. Hopefully, over time, I have blog posts banging away at me as I struggle to go back to sleep at 4 a.m. Hmm maybe I should write 3000 words a day. I really don’t like being awake at 4…

Do you have a creative limit, or do you find you can write more the more creative you allow yourself to be?