I am a stickler for routine (frequently driving my wife nuts). Every day, weekends included, I get up about 6:15 feed the cats, scoop some litter pans, and prep the coffee maker before getting ready for work. Once clean and dressed, I rouse the dog, who likes to sleep in longer than the cats, take her out and prepare her breakfast. As coffee brews I sit down to read e-mail, peruse the news or play a game on my iPad. I pour myself a mug of coffee a few minutes before 8 and head to my office for the day.
I’m a lucky one who has no commute, works in the comfort of my home and, if I choose, can spend my workday in PJ’s with none of my colleagues the wiser.
When I transitioned from an office job to working from home, establishing a routine was critical. I had to rethink how I would interact with various spaces in my home during working hours, in the evenings and on weekends. With the blending of my work and home lives I chose to maintain a routine similar to when I worked outside my home.
I get ready everyday as if I have to leave the house to put myself into work mode. The rest of my daily routine is similar to anyone with a nine to five job, and like most people I don’t actually work nine to five. I’m at my desk by 8, take a lunch break in the fine dining cafeteria (you have to make your own food, but the price is right), then usually finish out the day sometime between five and six.
My home routine picks up shortly thereafter when the pets need their dinner before the humans are nourished. On a regular night the entire household settles in to some relaxing family time before taking the dog out one more time and heading to bed.
I get grumpy or irritated when my routine is thrown off, just ask my wife, but I deal with it. Making an ongoing change to my routine by adding or eliminating activities can be more difficult for me than breaking a bad habit. It isn’t a problem with change; it’s a struggle with how to incorporate change into my schedule.
This is where adding writing time to my daily routine, whether before, during or after my normal workday, has left me feeling defeated. I made the conscious effort to sit down and write this morning. I hit my minimum 500 words well before I was ready to start my day, but this was a very conscious action unlike all of the other repetitive tasks I accomplished this morning.
I enjoy my writing time. I get a thrill when I can pour out my ideas onto a page. I love the sense that my writing improves with every word I write and edit. What I don’t understand is why it has been so difficult to change my daily routine to add an activity that makes me happy, but I’ll figure it out. I know I have the time for writing, whether getting up earlier, staying up later or swapping out other activities. Writing is important to me, unfortunately I’m just not acting like it.
I’m committed to writing for my blog and finishing my first novel as well as venturing into part-time freelance writing. I will find a way writing can fit in my life; apparently it’s just going to take some time.
I’m interested in hearing what changes you have made to incorporate a writing career into an otherwise busy life in the comment section.