Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Writer’s Routine

Sharon Wildwind

For some reason, writers are fascinated with other writers’ routines. How do you do it, they ask? As if there were some magic, some ju-ju in following the exact steps. I hate to break this to you, but if there is magic most mornings, I have trouble finding it. For what’s it’s worth, here’s my writing routine:

0630 hours
Pre-flight check
Stumble out of bed. Put on long t-shirt. The one this morning says "Brat."
Turn on Go-Light and sit bathed in eerie blue glow for 20 minutes. My husband calls it my Grow Light, though at my age my chances of overachieving beyond 5-feet have severely diminished.
Log on to e-mail provider. Wonder how it's possible to get 200+ junk messages since yesterday. Clear quarantine folder.
Check weather. We’re having a high of 27. Translate degrees celsius into something meaningful. 80.6 degrees fahrenheit. I can cope with that. Remember to water plants on the balcony. Check gardening calendar over the desk. Make that remember to FEED and water plants.
Read Doonsbury. Raise blood pressure.
Read For Better or For Worse. Lower blood pressure.
Eat oatmeal while reading e-mail.

0800 hours
Instrument check
Decide how much longer I can put off doing computer maintenance and backups.
Decide how much longer I can put off working on quarterly tax report, updating my business statistics, and filing.
Decide how much longer I can put off washing dishes. Wash enough dishes so husband can have breakfast.
Eat toast. Decide if I have to make bread this morning. The answer is yes. Put oats and milk to soak for later.
Wave at husband as he stumbles to the bathroom.

0830 hours
Chocks away
Tell husband I'm running away to North Carolina for a while and does he need anything before I leave?
Make pot of tea.
Put on purple felt hat, which has a "Police Line: Do Not Cross" tape around headband.
Put yellow sunglasses on over regular glasses. Theoretically, this reduces chances of cataracts.
Wave good-bye for now to husband. Put large headphones over ears.
Wonder if anyone would—or should—trust a writer wearing a t-shirt that says "Brat," a purple felt hat, large yellow sunglasses, and headphones.
Decide I need to brush my teeth. Take off headphones, glasses and hat.
Brush teeth. Pour a cup of tea. Put on hat, glasses and headphones.
Turn on background music.
Stare at screen-saver of photographs of the Smokey mountains in spring. Try to ignore that it is summer and 27 Celsius degrees a few feet away from me. Think small wisps of new leaf-growth. Think wood smoke. Think Carolina blue sky and cool mountain breezes. Play James Taylor singing "Carolina in my Mind."

Wait for the magic.

The police came, took their statements, and told Benny he could file a missing-person report on Yianni Skoufalos in forty-eight hours. It wasn’t illegal for a grown man to leave his business unlocked, and there was absolutely no sign of foul play. Benny decided to keep the store upon until the usual closing time, just in case Mr. Skoufalos came back.

Well, okay, maybe some times there is magic. Got any writer routines of your own you'd like to share?
Writing quote for the week:

Writing is like quilting. Collect the scraps. Cut them into pieces. Look for the pattern. Sew them together. Embellish. ~Sharon Wildwind, mystery writer


Julia Buckley said...

Sharon, you crack me up! And the picture is priceless.

I don't have a writer's routine, except to worry over a problem in the plot until it bothers me so much I have to sit down and type it out. I'm a worrier by nature. This is why I have to take Prevacid.

By the way, what's a Go-light?

Terry Odell said...

Your routine sounds altogether TOO familiar. I do insert a brief trip to the Y to pedal a recumbent bike while reading. Guarantees me 30 guilt-free moments of reading, and helps get the mind into 'writer' mode, although by the time I edit the dreck I wrote the day before, I'm usually bummed and have to wander around and do housework which immediately inspires me to get back to writing. I mean, if there's a choice between writing about cool people or doing the laundry, what would you pick?

Sharon Wildwind said...

Julia, a Go-Light is a full-spectrum light that gives off an eery blue glow. It's supposed to activate receptors in the back of the eyes, which in turn produce a chemical that fights Seasonal Affective Disorder. We're so far north in Calgary that only between the months of May and October is the real sun high enough in the sky to activate the chemical naturally.

Terry, I'm adding a walk to my routine, sometimes before I start writing and some times afterwards. You're right about 30 guilt-free moments.