I recently read a blog post by Katherine Valdez called Cross-Training for Writers, and it got me to re-think my writing routine.
While I thrive on routine in most areas of my life, writing is the one thing that sets me free from routine that can suffocate living.
Creating stories is an escape from the real world of routine and from keeping all things on a schedule. Not that the real world is bad. On the contrary. But my need to control the real world around me isn’t healthy. And, in essence, creating a routine, making sure all things fall into place, is a means of control.
Writing gives me an escape from that control, because once I start a story, outline or not, it seems to take off with a mind of its own. My characters develop their own stubborn personalities and develop as they want to rather than how I had planned. Or My favorite pen runs out of ink and I have to use another. Or my computer battery isn’t charged and I need to sit at my desk near the charger rather than camp out on the sofa or floor like I had planned. Yes, I realize I could move the charger, but that would be too logical. 🙂
But I digress…
Katherine’s blog post made me think about how my writing life can even become mundane and a chore, rather than a joy and an escape, if I make it routine. By feeling like I haven’t really written if I haven’t put a set number of words on the page or clocked a certain number of minutes at my computer.
Or telling myself I can’t really count it as writing if I’m not working on a piece in order to get it published.
What I’ve come to realize in exploring this area is there are so many creative ways to create. Why try lock oneself in a box of expectations we place on ourselves?
Doodling/sketching is a creative outlet. And that sketching exercises an area of the brain that is different from writing.
Mentally creating story lines, character traits, scenes, etc., while watching a movie or reading a book exercises the thought process part of the brain.
Listening to conversations on public transportation, in cafes or coffee shops, at work or in the park, catching snippets of conversation, the tone of a voice, etc., teaches us to be attentive to our surroundings. To listen like a writer, exercising
yet another part of the creative process
Reading books/blogs/articles/magazines/websites on writing teaches us what works and doesn’t work. However, just because something didn’t work for one person doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. One thing that does work for the majority, however, and would be wise to follow, is the advice to be persistent and never give up.
Just as cross-training in exercise works different muscle groups and keeps the interest alive, cross-training in writing exercises different muscles and keeps the excitement of the process alive.
All is Grace.