How do you return to the productive routine of writing after having a festive break away from it all?
As evidenced by my weekly graph, below, I haven’t written a word since the 23rd December. [Tut tut] It has been a very busy Christmas with at least three separate parties to exchange presents with various family members and then my own thirtieth birthday get together. It could be said that I haven’t been writing over the last five days for very good reason: I was indulging in living for a little while. But, now those sociable days are over and I aim to get back into the rhythm of writing.
What I need to get me going, and to keep me going, on such a journey will always come down to two things:
Routine & Rewards
Over the past few years I have discovered that if I expect myself to write and feel some obligation to it, then I will write. Sometimes this means making my desire to write public and then knowing that friends and colleagues will ask about it. Such pressure does me good. It helps to maintain the priority of my writing at the forefront of many of my ‘to-do’ lists. Occasionally it will also mean trying to remember why it is I do what I do when I write on those days when I really just can’t be bothered: having a blog to peruse and track my struggles is central to this. On those days, coming back here to re-read some of my ambitions helps to put it all into perspective.
However, if I don’t remind myself that I’m doing my best every once in a while I lose not just momentum but also desire. I need a bit of sweetener to encourage me to continue and reassure myself that I’m doing all of this for a very good reason. To get that feeling I advise the reward system of writing.
It might be as simple as a cup of tea and some biscuits after writing for 20mins, or it could be something more special – such as dinner out with my friends if I have a day when I reach 2,000 words. Whatever it is, I need to gently coax my mind into believing that writing is always a good thing to be doing, because nice things follow it. I do this because occasionally it’s harder to write on one day than it is on another. Temptation and procrastination exist everywhere, therefore, in order to counter that I groom my good writing habits by rewarding them, even on days when the writing itself is enough of a confidence booster, it’s a reminder to my unconscious muse that we’re doing great things.
It’s been almost a week since I did any writing, but I’m not going to be foolish and expect too much too soon. I aim to start out small and work up to steady. Until I go back to work on the 4th January there are still far too many tempting activities that are not writing to distract me from my goals. However, while I will expect to write I will not yet burden myself with specific targets or numbers. For the next week or so I’m going to plan in some time when I will offer myself the opportunity to write and see what happens. Only then will I begin a routine that I can build on and maintain with realistic targets and reasonable expectation.