I have the luxury or good fortune to be retired, and I write full-time. My writing career revolves around writing and reading, and I enjoy doing both. Here’s a little bit about my current writing life and routine:
When I taught high school, I had to be at work by 7:00 am and I’m not a morning person. So nowadays I let myself wake up slowly. I usually get up about 7:30, have breakfast and read the newspaper, take a shower and start thinking (or daydreaming?) about writing. I’m at my desk by 9:00, or 9:30 at the latest.
I write for a couple hours, usually working on the current draft but sometimes researching or working on edits for the next Gold Rush book. (Another thing I should mention: I want to avoid repetitive stress injuries or back problems, so I set a timer and get up and move around every 30 minutes. That keeps me from getting stuck in a bad posture or typing for too long.) Then I go to yoga class or take a walk, and have lunch. In the afternoon, I move to the living room and work on “business writing”: emails, checking my blog and social media. I also have two small paying jobs, coordinating projects for 49 Writers and the Anchorage Library, so I do my emails and such for them at that time too. I try to end my writing work day by 4:00 or 5:00, depending on how much there is on my to-do list. I really keep a to-do list, with a week of meetings and commitments at the top and tasks without specific dates and times at the bottom to check off as I complete them.
I also love to read, and as a writer I need to read to see good examples of writing. Last year, I wasn’t reading as much as I wanted, so now I try to read at least one book a month (that is not research). Right now, I’m reading Anagrams by Lorrie Moore because my daughter gave it to me and Moore is on the list of “10 Women Writers All Women Should Read” by Molly Lavell (http://www.bustle.com/articles/17596-10-women-writers-all-women-should-read). Anagrams is witty, and Moore has an interesting take on perspective that I’m enjoying as a writer. Other times I might read a romance by a writer friend or a YA or NA novel, whatever strikes my fancy. I usually read after writing or in the evenings, depending on how busy I am.
For me, it works to have a general schedule. I like structure, and giving myself a routine helps me get to the tasks I need to do on a regular basis. But there are times when I need to be flexible too, and I have learned to let go of the routine when I have many meetings or appointments or my personal life has to take priority. The tricky part is going back to routine after an interruption, but I’m getting better at saying, Okay, today we go back to the schedule and sticking to it. Everyone has a different style or a different path, but I have found mine. At least at this stage in my life…we’ll see how things change as time goes by.
What works for you? Do you have a routine, or like to go with the flow?