Oh boy, does Caroline Donahue ask big questions in her classes. After going through the process of getting to know my creative self and my critical self, I am now looking at how my writing routine fits both of those. And quite honestly…I don’t know.
I thought that “routine” worked best because then I just didn’t think about it. But here’s the thing, once you break it, it’s all you think about it. Once I break a routine, my critical self hooks onto it as a reason to be disappointed in me. Then, I don’t go back to writing for weeks and sometimes MONTHS.
So what’s a better writing practice me?
Let me tell you a secret. As a Four Tendencies “Rebel,” I don’t like being told I have to do something. I do things when I want to do them. Which…to anybody who knows me…this is not a surprise…but to me it was an aha as to why I have failed so many challenges in the past.
To create a new practice, I’ll have to figure out how to get myself to want to write. The problem is that when I want to write, I’m usually at my day job. I’m not sure if this is because I used to write in late morning or early afternoon throughout my school years, and then took my lunch breaks while working to write. Now though, I’m usually working through my lunch breaks, or feel guilty for writing during the afternoons if it’s not the weekend.
I was told recently though that I’m allowed to take those breaks whenever I would like in the afternoon. (Like duh, but I’m not talking my lunch break…just like…writing while working…scandalous). If I put the hours in to work for work, still get my work done, and generally just do my job, there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to take 20 minutes to work on a scene I’ve got trying to burst out of my head.
This isn’t about writing when I’m inspired, it’s about finding what excites me about writing. I’m getting re-acquainted with my creative self, who is very used to sneaking some writing in when she’s able. She used sneak writing in when she finished the worksheet in science and still had 15 minutes left before class was going to go through it or we moved to the next subject. The other part of getting excited for writing is bringing commentary in when I need a little boost.
I loved seeing those little comments in the margins of my notebook. They used to propel me to keep writing. I really want to incorporate that back into my drafting and revising process. I’ve got a few friends that I trust to do this with and the writing group that I go to helps with this as well.
I’m not sure what my writing “routine” will look like, or if it will even by “routine” but I know I’ll get more writing done soon.
With everything that Caroline taught us in Write Free, I was able to start getting a short story idea down! I’m so excited to get more writing done.
Do you have a practice that works for you? How does it incorporate your creative self? How are you distracting the critic?