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Old 07-08-2018, 06:47 PM
Justin Goodlow Justin Goodlow is offline
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Default Writing Routine

I recently read Mason Curry's Daily Rituals: How Artists Work and it was pretty inspiring. For those of you who haven't heard of this work, it is a coffee table-type book that is a compilation of the author's accounts of various famous creative persons' (not just artists) daily routines that he either wrote himself or collected secondhand. There are a few poets listed; Yeats, Auden, Goethe, Schiller, and Angelou immediately come to mind. Some of the accounts are pretty detailed.


I envy those who can just sit down and write anytime during the day. Being as dissipated as I am, I've found I need set times to sit down and focus. On a normal weekday, I'll write without breaks from around 6:00-7:30 in the morning before breakfast. In the afternoons, I work on music for around the same time span. I suppose I have a morning ritual; I get up at 4:30, shower, meditate/do yoga for an hour, than brew a cup of Tulsi tea with lemon, ghee, and jaggery and sit down to write .

So I was wondering, do any of you have a routine or rituals for creative work? Any tips or tricks you would like to share?

Justin
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Old 07-09-2018, 03:28 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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Any routine I have will from now on need to include jaggery. :-)

Cheers,
John
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Old 07-09-2018, 04:47 AM
Nausheen Eusuf Nausheen Eusuf is offline
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Ha! I had no idea what jaggery was either! Had to look it up

But Justin, I'm impressed by anyone who can wake up at 4:30, meditate, do yoga, and write for an hour and a half -- all before it's even time for breakfast! That's a whole lotta good habits -- I admire that kind of discipline. Something to aspire to -- esp. as I try to get thru my dissertation...

Nausheen
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Old 07-09-2018, 05:14 AM
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Jayne Osborn Jayne Osborn is offline
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Justin,

I'm absolutely staggered that you have such self-discipline! Getting up at 4.30am, writing for an hour and a half every morning...

You presumably don't have a job. Or are you a monk, or something? You're very young to live the life you're living!!
(I'm still reeling from the notion of getting up in the middle of the night. I don't usually go to bed till around 1am.)

Anyway, to answer your question: How I wish I had a routine for writing. I'm a retired teacher, and you'd think I'd have loads of time on my hands - but I lead a very busy life, and have seven grandchildren... so I write haphazardly, nowhere near as often as I'd like, scribbling ideas in myriad notebooks... most of which never materialise into a poem.

In short, I lack self-discipline. How on earth do you manage it??
I have a gym membership but easily talk myself out of going there most days, because "I'm Far Too Busy Today"

(I had to Google jaggery too. Great word )

Jayne
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Old 07-09-2018, 06:16 AM
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Michael Ferris Michael Ferris is offline
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That book sounds good, Justin. Old Papa Hemingway used to write in the mornings, as I recall; heíd take a pitcher of martinis up to his study and work till lunch. I assume he made the martinis after breakfast.

Iím a morning writer, too, but without the martinis. The morning is my favorite time of day and I usually rise with the Sun. I sit down on the couch in my study and write with pencil (always pencil) into a notebook. I need perfect silence except for birdsong and the snoring dog. What Iíve written may or may not make it into a computer file, and once itís in the file, if may or may not survive editing. Iím an aggressive editor / trasher.

The exception is journal entries, which I compose directly at the computer and almost never delete, though I do edit them, mostly for mistakes and typos. I view journal writing as a way of recording and working out thoughts; it also keeps the mind and fingers nimble when the other Muse has skipped town or lost her senses. I highly recommend it.

Between verse and journal entries, I write something to keep maybe three days a week, though sometimes little more than a sentence or a quotation for the journal.
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:12 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is online now
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It's been my experience that too much routine scares the raw imagination away --Though it is well-documented that the best writers follow one. But they are not limited to it.
Ideas come whenever and wherever they occur, usually because of some random external stimulus that locks in to something internal. Who can write while shaving? In the shower? Driving the speed limit? I try my best to make note of it and hope that when I come back to it the spark is still flickering. I've carried fragments in my head for hours, repeating them over and over so as not to forget them, until I get to a "safe place" to jot them down -- only to delete them a day later in disgust.

But routine is definitely a key to getting anything of any value done. I just don't have a very good one. Mine is a much paired down version of yours: Wake early (5:15, shower, coffee, then to my flickering notes...)
x
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:00 AM
Justin Goodlow Justin Goodlow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayne Osborn View Post
Justin,

I'm absolutely staggered that you have such self-discipline! Getting up at 4.30am, writing for an hour and a half every morning...

You presumably don't have a job. Or are you a monk, or something? You're very young to live the life you're living!!
(I'm still reeling from the notion of getting up in the middle of the night. I don't usually go to bed till around 1am.)

Anyway, to answer your question: How I wish I had a routine for writing. I'm a retired teacher, and you'd think I'd have loads of time on my hands - but I lead a very busy life, and have seven grandchildren... so I write haphazardly, nowhere near as often as I'd like, scribbling ideas in myriad notebooks... most of which never materialise into a poem.

In short, I lack self-discipline. How on earth do you manage it??
I have a gym membership but easily talk myself out of going there most days, because "I'm Far Too Busy Today"

(I had to Google jaggery too. Great word )

Jayne
Thanks Jayne! I do have a job, two actually, but they are both part time. I am very lucky in that my teaching gig from Mon-Fri starts at 9am, is only three hours long and two minutes walking distance away from my apartment so I have quite a bit of free time on the weekdays.

It is difficult waking up at 4:30 every morning and it is not uncommon that I fail to do so (like this morning since I have a cold) but you just gotta move on and try again. Its a nice way to start the morning getting up at a set time. One way I manage it is taking cat naps in the afternoon (which I have the luxury of doing since I finish teaching before lunch). I usually go to bed anywhere from 9:30-10:30. My diet is also pretty light and vegetarian so it is much less tempting for me than the average person to sleep off a heavy dinner the night before.

Justin
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Old 07-13-2018, 11:17 AM
Patrick Murtha Patrick Murtha is offline
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Justin,

Even though I write a weekly-ish column in a local paper, my writing habit is hardly exemplary. Procrastination is the name of the game. My column is normally due by noon on Mondays. And so, it arrives at the editor's box by two. I usually do not start writing until the Morning, and try as I might, unless there is the stress of time, I find that nothing gets done. (Routines are desirable, but I constantly fail at getting a routine resolved.)

An interesting work on authorship is a book called "Author, Author" or, for our British friends, "Performing Flea." It is a collection of letters written to a fellow named Townend. While not all of it concerns itself with writing, Wodehouse, throughout the letters, offers a lot of down-to-earth and often humorous (humourous) advice to writers.

Sincerely,
PM
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Old 07-13-2018, 11:46 AM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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My rule is that I have few rules as to when or how to write. Brand new poems often seem to arise in the early morning hours when I'm half awake, and if I'm lucky I scribble a few lines on a pad I keep by the bed, or the pillow case, or my toenail, and hope I can read it later. Beyond jotting down ideas, I rarely write before late afternoon or evening. My grind-it-out-get-the-thing-to-work writing generally starts late in the evening and runs till two or three in the morning if I'm on a roll. Or I'll watch television. Or read. I'm lucky enough (and disgustingly old enough) to be retired, so I can write when I want.

My sense is that novelists and non-fiction writers are much more structured in their work habits than poets. They often set aside set times or number of pages per day, and bang away till the bell rings. Poets seem to be more at the mercy of the muse, less structured. All of which makes sense when you consider the different outputs. Assuming you adjust, of course, for novelists or travel writers who write poetically, and poets who can't.

Last edited by Michael Cantor; 07-13-2018 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:27 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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Yeah, I agree with what Michael said. That said, I do like to make sure I spend a certain amount of time a day, even if that means catatonic at the screen. Much inspiration comes outside of that, but it keeps the engine running.
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