When Racheline and I started writing together, our routine consisted of one thing: writing. Then there was editing on top of that, and then marketing, and then all the little things that go into getting a book ready for production — and with so much in the hopper, we were always adding new things on top of projects still in the process.
It took a while, and a lot of not sleeping enough, but we got comfortable with the routine of juggling writing, editing, and marketing. It’s not a “routine” in the sense that we always spend the same chunk of time doing the same thing every day, but it is in the sense that, we have (and meet) an expectation for ourselves that on any given day, we’ll do something in each of those categories.
Now we’re in the thick of NaNoWriMo, and we’ve stripped away all the other stuff and are just back to writing. It’s jarring, in a way — wait, where did the rest of our to-do list go? — and also freeing (All we have to do is write! With some edits on our Christmas short here and working on some other marketing stuff over there; because we can’t stop completely…). But it’s a change in routine. And at the end of the month, when we go full-throttle back to all the things we usually, that’ll be another thing.
Routines are useful. To my expectation-needing self, they’re pretty much necessary to do life. They take what each day, week, or month needs and makes it predictable, which makes planning easy, or at least easier. And the more I follow a routine, the more efficient I get at ticking off the boxes on the to-do list every day.
Stepping outside the routine, though, can be jarring. What do I do? Where do I go? But it’s also freeing. It lets you re-evaluate what you’re doing, and why. It’s a change of calender scenery. It makes things non-boring.
What changing things up really reminds us, though, is how much is possible. There’s a reason the NaNoWriMo challenge is so popular, after all; people make an exception to their daily routines and crank out tens of thousands of words in a matter of weeks. It lets us come at old problems with fresh eyes.
And at the end of a month, when we’ve cranked out our own tens of thousands of words, it’ll be quite nice and comforting to go back to our old routine, for however long it lasts, before it changes again.
So what’s your routine — that you’re trying to get into, trying to get out of, or happily in the midst of? Whatever it is, we’ll cheer you on.