Do you ever wonder what other people do at work? When they get in, what's the first thing they do?
I spend so much of my time writing -- and thinking about writing, and researching writing -- that writing dominates my thought process and my routine at work. But when it comes to other writing, what's the routine? When I'm not checking my email, researching, or writing work-related material, what do I do with my writing life?
I research (a lot) & make lists (a lot).
About 65% of writing for me is researching & planning. I have successfully kept notebooks since my freshman year of college and while I haven't been as organized about it as I wish I was, I still have a vast amount of information I've collected throughout my life. Lists of quotes, ideas, stories, authors, books I want to read... I've written down basically every idea and thought I've had since 2007 and that's pretty awesome.
It's something I still try to do today. I read; I research; I make lists. These things inform my writing in ways that are obvious and not-so-obvious.
The Little Things
I write best under very specific circumstances. Early mornings where I have the house to myself. A cup of coffee. A candle. My notebook. My favorite pen. And good music and/or a good movie. I can write for hours like this.
My house also has to be clean. Before I can write, before I can really get any work done, my house has to be in order -- at least the part of the house I'm in (whether that's my office or my kitchen working area). That usually means I organize and tidy up my desk area, wipe down the counters, clean the floors, and set up some flowers or a candle. I just like a cozy, clean vibe before I can get down to work.
I mean, why work in a messy place when I can work in a clean place? Plus, less cluttered surroundings leads to less cluttered thoughts.
When I actually get down to writing -- and I mean, really writing -- I lose track of time; I can't pay attention to anything else. All noises blend into one that lulls me into my task. My notes are there only to glance at and perhaps add to or reference, but I don't spend more than 30 seconds looking at them at a time.
Writing is an all-consuming task that can either be immediately time consuming or can be like picking pills off a sweater (that is, dull, useless, and painful). Everyone has their own unique writing routine -- things they like to have, things they have to do before they can write -- but this is mine. And it's worked so far.