where the writers are
So much for writing at night

This is the blog post where I take back everything I said a few weeks ago! No, actually, that's a complete lie, I don't take any of it back. I have been trying out the routine I described here on Jan 1st for the past few weeks, but the writing at night element of it just isn't working. I loved coming into my study at 10pm and writing until 2am, but then I was so hyped up I wasn't getting to sleep til 3am... and was waking J up in the process. I was feeling jet-lagged, and both us were sleeping badly, which really ruins everything. It just wasn't working.

But - I am the kind of person that often needs to make a RADICAL change in order to knock me out of my rut, and this was that radical change. I have learned an enormous amount from what I have been doing, setting off for a walk first thing, and making sure I come back with something. I've learned to really observe the world around me, putting energy into seeing and hearing in a way that I have never done before. I've learned just how much inspiration this close observation can provide me for my writing, as I make notes on what I see and hear, sometimes things that I know no-one else is noticing.

It gives me enormous pleasure to be using my senses like this - when I am out and about, I watch how people interact, and when I sit in a cafe I don't have my head buried behind my laptop anymore or checking my mobile phone. I wonder if anyone has noticed me noticing - do they wonder at the single woman sitting there, with no book, no newspaper? Just a pen and notepad. Is anyone watching me?

Because of this, for the first time ever I have been writing fiction based on real life events, or how I saw them. This is really a revelation - first it takes the pressure off me to "make up" everything, all the time. It lets me give my imagination a kick-start, which I had been doing with prompts and the New Scientist articles in my book, but hadn't done in this way before.

My routine also severed my umbilical connection to the Internet. I do my best every day not to turn it on for the first few hours at least, but when I do, I also now feel freer to just turn it off again, pull out the cable, block the wifi. It's a great relief! If there is something I need to look up first thing in the morning because I hadn't got myself organised the night before, I feel in some way unclean!

So, the current plan is to shift everything back a few hours. I've managed to get to sleep earlier, it took a few days, and I am getting up earlier, but right now I am quite confused about when my writing time is. I love going out first thing, getting the blood moving. I often go out quite grumpy and come back totally exhilerated! I also like not starting to write straight after my walk but to let what I've observed percolate, while I get on with other stuff. So, maybe this should be my writing time right now? 6-9? Late dinner? Early dinner? I've started a new healthy eating regime too... the working at night had the effect of utterly throwing off my mealtimes so I kept skipping a meal, which didn't help.

To sum up: I need to sleep. I need to eat. I need to write. I need quality time with J. I need to let him sleep too. I haven't quite figured out all of those things, but it's only Jan 26th, there's still 11 months and 5 days to go!

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balance and schedules

Congratulations on trying something new and not reverting to last year's rut by mid-January. Sounds like you're learning a lot about what works best for you, even if it needs some tweaking.

For me, getting up and working out and writing first thing is the best combination. (Especially the getting up part.)

Good luck with modifying all your new routines until they work best!

Carol Newman Cronin
"Oliver's Surprise: A Boy, a Schooner, and the Great Hurricane of 1938."

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Hi Carol, I am definitely

Hi Carol,
I am definitely learning, not sure when I will find my perfect routine. Or if there is one! Yes, getting up is a very good idea, I find that getting dressed helps too. Nice to meet you!


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I thought getting dressed was optional for working at home? Darn, I'll have to revise my morning routine.
PS I've been trying something new this week, thanks to cold mornings and (relatively) warm afternoons: Get up, get dressed (sort of), write, THEN work out (outside). So I guess I'm breaking out of my rut too, at least for a few days.

Carol Newman Cronin
"Oliver's Surprise: A Boy, a Schooner, and the Great Hurricane of 1938."