Hello, loves. I’m honestly lost count how many times in the past 3+ years I’ve lamented about a lack of a routine. I mean, look at how many posts I was able to link, just now? Structure really helps me just survive, honestly. I wish it wasn’t that way (why do I feel shame about this? That’s another topic for another day). But it is. So the pandemic kinda taking that away and my own struggles of not making a routine work has been super difficult, honestly.
So, here’s attempt who-bloody-knows-anymore at making a routine work. 💀
So, I wanted to sit down and really look at my goals. The kind of life I ultimately want to live and the practices I want to have. In theory, with the utmost faith and perfect environment, I’d love a life that looks like this:
I write regularly, with confidence. Using a blend of research (non-fiction and potential fiction), and writing down words, I work on stories that speak to my soul in some way. Stories that inspire me, that challenge me and that deserve to be told. Writing is a priority. I write more often than I don’t. But when I don’t, there is no guilt (the ultimate challenge).
Because I write regularly, I’m writing new books and editing older novels regularly and often. Querying will be a regular endeavor until I’m represented. Until then, I’ll learn more about self-publishing and start self-publishing novels, working on a career as a hybrid author. Definitely actively reading short stories to perhaps practice that medium more and start submitting to magazines. I’ll continue building my Patreon as a platform to help support me as a writer.
Also, community is important to me. I don’t do this alone. I have a discord for writer friends to support one another and form a community. Mostly because social media can be trash sometimes, but having a space curated for us that is safe, supportive and fun is imperative.
Reading no longer feels like a chore or a second job. I’ve overcome that hurdle. Instead, I read regularly, most often during lunch breaks (because I DO take lunch breaks) and before bed. I’m no longer focused on the number of books I read, nor how quickly. Reading and supporting diverse authors is second nature (their books are better, so…). I regularly write reviews and cross post them to review sites to help support said authors.
My mental health isn’t perfect, because it never will be. Yet I am at peace with my body, managing my eating disorder well, with practices in place for when my body hatred and body dysmorphic thoughts turn ugly. I’m active because I want to be, not because I feel I must to earn my worth. My sleep schedule is solid, giving me both rest but also time to get ready in the morning without rushing and to wind down in the evenings.
I care for my dog and spoil her, giving her a good life with frequent walks, baths and adventures. Finally, I’ve embraced the scene style I’ve always wanted (and have been too afraid to wear). Adventures are something I take often, especially abroad. I work at a day job that is fulfilling and no longer toxic. Finally–FINALLY–I live amongst the trees that give me a sense of peace I’ve never felt anywhere else. I’m covered in tattoos and have multiple pets.
Where I’m At Currently
Friends, reading the above by writing it as if it’s my reality? That was heavenly. Divine. It’s the life I want. So, so bad.
Yet, I’m falling a bit short, currently, in almost all areas. 🙃
In writing, it’s sporadic, instead of structured; fearful, instead of confident; an afterthought, rather than a priority. My reading is abysmal. And my mental health…well, let’s just say it’s not great. Not even close. I struggle with a lot of depression, anxiety and very intense body issues and fatphobia towards myself. My day job is toxic, my living situation is manageable (but not ideal) and I am plagued with guilt. So much guilt, all the time.
So. How do I go from the dream to reality? By making a routine, to give me the habits I need to put things into practice. After practice comes opportunity. After opportunity, reality.
Making a Routine to Match
Sitting down and truly thinking about this, there is a lot of things I think need to change. Some of them are “simpler,” in nature, like changing my sleep habits to create a rested morning and open up more time to accomplish what I want. Others are more complex, like changing mindsets that have been ingrained for decades. Still more, there are some that feel impossible and out of my control, like affording therapy or moving to the woods.
Yet, making a routine that brings the life I want is vital, right now. I need it. So, let’s write out how to make it happen.
So, the threads of what I want my writing life to look like are very similiar to the intentions I made at the beginning of the year:
- Write regularly
- Create and keep connections with other writers
- Blend research, editing and new words
- Learn how to self-publish
- Read more short fiction
- Conquer guilt
Most namely, I need to sit ass in chair and write. This summer, my goal is to read seven (!!) non-fiction books, to help support the next round of edits on BLOOD PRICE. I also plan to write some lowkey “250s,” as my advisor calls them, to help support the worldbuilding. Mathematically, it comes out to 20 pages read a day, then typing up notes and writing 250s inspired by those notes. Then, from that, I’ll have built up a routine to fit in writing time AND learned how to use research effectively.
Vision: Write 4x a week, in the evenings, after walking Dovah, eating dinner and showering (most likely 6:45-7:45pm). Read one published short story from a magazine I’d love to be published in every two weeks. Create Discord group for writer friends to stay in touch and encourage each other.
For reading, it’s taken a back seat to two things: social media and video games. I used to read a ton, growing up. I barely read anything comparatively. But, I think that’s my first step. Stop comparing: to other readers, other writers, the blogging community, to myself, both current and past. That never helps anyone. Plus, I really enjoy playing video games, especially since it’s one of the only hobbies I have left to actually relax with. But, social media? That, I can cut back on. Gladly.
Vision: Utilize lunch breaks and nighttime to read each day. Actually create a bedtime routine that doesn’t involve doomscrolling until I can’t sleep. Request less ARCs to make progress on books owned.
Oh yes, the most complicated of them all. This has tanked, in a lot of ways. Depression is hard to stave off. My body image disorder has skyrocketed since I stopped therapy (for financial reasons, not by choice). This also prevents me from dressing the way I want, doing some things, taking pictures and is the root of a lot of my anxiety. My toxic day job has promise to improve, but even if it doesn’t, I have to stay there for two more years to complete my MFA, if I want that. We have no money to move. And guilt? I struggle with guilt so much, y’all.
So, my vision here? I’m not quite sure. Therapy is certainly needed again. I think adapting my mindset to be kinder to myself is needed. Investing in my creative loves will definitely help. Completing my MFA and finding a new path is promising. Talking with my partner about these goals and coming up with a plan–written in water, not in stone–excites me.
I’m not sure. Currently, I wish each work day would look something like this:
- 6:30-6:45: wake up and stretch
- 6:45-7:15: bike ride and read
- 7:15-8:00: breakfast and get ready for the day
- 8:00-12:00: day job
- 12:00-1:00: lunch and read
- 1:00-4:30: day job
- 4:30-5:00: travel home
- 5:00-5:30: walk Dovah
- 5:30-6:45: shower and dinner
- 6:45-7:45: writing (or research, editing, brainstorming, etc.)
- 7:45-9:45: gaming
- 9:45-10:00: get ready for bed
- 10:00-10:30: read
- 10:30-6:30: sleep
Then, on weekends, I could Saturdays for socializing and errands, while Sundays are cleaning, blogging and week prep. In a perfect world, I’d work four days a week, all remote, with a schedule that’s either flexible or set by me, so I don’t have to have such early mornings. (I have always struggled with early mornings. Always, always, always).
Looking at that schedule, it feels impossible, yet dreamy. It also feels like I need to stop making excuses and get it done. Yet, also be kinder and take it in steps.
And we wonder why making a routine has been such a challenge? 😂
Sitting down and making a routine to fit the life I want to live has honestly been a bit challenging. This post has taken me over a week to write (I normally can write a post in 1-2 hours). And honestly? I’m still not sure I have it figured out.
However, I would love your advice, particularly in these areas: how do you make writing a priority as an adult? What about becoming a morning person because your day job needs you to be? Or how to deal with guilt (especially how to feel it less)? Or just how to make a bloody routine and stick with it.
If you’ve read this far, I owe you a postcard or something. This is the longest post I’ve written in a while! Thank you so, so much for reading. Hopefully, I’ll be able to link to this post once day and talk about some wins. 🖤