Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Over and Over

I’ve decided it’s the routine that’s gotten to me.  It’s not unlike any job where you do the same thing over and over.

What I mean is this: going to bed by 10 P.M.; getting up to an alarm; having breakfast; getting to my desk by 9 A.M. and staying there until 12 or 1.

On the face of it it doesn’t look so terrible.  But I’ve been doing it for about 50 years with short breaks here and there.

Since I stopped writing ideas have come to me…not big ones, but little ones here and there.  I think to myself I should write that (a habit that doesn’t go away ever, I suspect) and then my mind goes immediately to the SCHEDULE.  And I know I can’t do it.

So change the schedule, you say.  Write in the afternoon.  Write at night. Use something other than a computer.  I can’t.  I’ve never used anything but a typewriter or a computer.  And I’ve always written in the morning. 

I’m a morning person.  I’d have no energy to write in the afternoon and night is for other things.  Like life.  Not to mention total lack of energy. Writing with pen and pad leaves me cold.  And I can’t write in cafes or libraries or anywhere but here.  I have to have total silence.  That’s one of the main reasons I left NYC.

I have no idea what to do about this.  Perhaps I’ll have to stay silent until the idea of a schedule doesn’t make me feel sick.


AmyJo said...

Have you thought of just dropping the alarm? Let your body clock set the pace for the day. Wake up naturally and then go through your natural sense of flow -breakfast, shower, dress etc - and when you get to writing, you write for whatever time frame you can. Don't think schedule, just natural day. What have you been doing as far as routine since you stopped writing?

Picks By Pat said...

Since you still have ideas, you still have the spark. And considering the success of your short story in "A Hell of A Woman", I suggest you concentrate on short stories, for a couple of reasons:

1) You have the talent, obviously
2) You can utilize more of your ideas in less time than writing another novel (hence a smaller schedule), and
3) The short story seems to be making a comeback in the crime fiction arena.

OK, that's three reasons...I'm a writer, not a mathematician.

Good Luck!

Sandra Scoppettone said...

Hey guys you're not listening. I can't get up any old time and start the day, finally getting to my desk at maybe 10 or 11. That won't work for me.

Short stories involve writing... and the same schedule. The length of the piece doesn't dictate the schedule. Besides, I don't want to write.

What have I been doing since I stopped writing? That's the point...whatever I feel like doing whenever I want.

CurrentQuandary said...

Though I've never commented before, I've been reading with interest your recent posts (another writing blog linked me to you). I feel odd chiming in because we don't know each other, but for some reason I felt compelled to share a thought. I'm a firm believer in two ideas: replenishing the well -- not just your writer well but your overall soul -- and going down the path that's presented to you. Why not give yourself permission to follow your gut and do whatever you feel like doing for a while? Maybe that's what you're supposed to be doing right now. I also have a book suggestion: Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

Jess said...

Life habits are hard to break. My mom was a nurse. Worked nights all through my childhood. She's never been a happy day person and still isn't. At 83 she still prefers sitting up and reading all night long. That's the way her body clock works.

My stepson is a night person. He has a degree in Mgmt but he chose a photography job with a TV station making minimum wage because it gave him freedom to sleep until noon, go to work for 1:00 and get off at eleven at night, and then he flips channels and reads until wee hours. That's the way is body clock is designed.

My dad quit smoking late in life. He died in his late 70s. He never quit patting his left shirt pocket for those Marlboros.

I wrote more and in my mind, better when I had a cigarette burning in the ashtray beside my keyboard. Once I quit smoking, writing has never been the same for me.

Life habits, body clock, whatever you want to call it--They're powerful.

Sandra, I wish you'd just share some of your knowledge with us. Am I out of bounds to ask you to blog about plotting, characterization, making setting come alive--whatever. You have a lot of know-how that some of us don't have.

Okay...just delete me if you want. :) You may not want to write, but I agree with Pat. You still have the spark whether you want it or claim it. And you still have a lot of fans and friends who keep hoping...

pattinase (abbott) said...

If I had any sort of valuable/inspirational advice to dispense, I would. Since I don't, I'll be quiet and let you figure it out, which I know you will.