Monday, August 16, 2010

Writing Rituals

Back when most of my writing was fiction (a few years ago, maybe longer), I had a particular ritual that I'd go through before I sat down to write. I'd fire up the computer, make a cup of tea (or water, or coke, or whatever I happened to be in the mood for). Then I'd go take a shower, and basically just sit under the water until I felt relaxed. After that, I'd go sit down, put my mind in whatever world I was writing about, and continue the story.

And that was actually a change from an earlier pattern. Back when I was in High School, I'd just go occupy the computer after dinner, and get snarly with anyone who tried to interrupt me. I didn't really need the ritual preparation, because my brain was pretty much always in some fantasy world or other. (I had a lot of reading and writing time, and my friends and I would discuss characters, story ideas, and books we were reading.)

Nowadays, of course, I have even less time - at least, less time that lends itself to writing. If I spend half an hour relaxing, then by the time I'm ready to write I need to go to bed. As a result, not much gets done - and when I do manage to write, it comes out kind of choppy. Often I'm picking up a project that I haven't looked at in several days, so I've lost track of exactly where I was and what all I was doing in the text. I've tried to compensate for that by becoming more organized about my projects, but the results have been mixed. Lack of writing time isn't the sort of problem that can be solved by anything besides acquiring more writing time, and the things that use up most of my time - my family and my job - are things that I'm not going to cut back on.

Instead, I find myself focusing on other things that affect my ability to write: making sure I'm rested, getting exercise, staying healthy... Of course, there's a bit of a Catch-22 there, too. The most common reason for me not getting enough sleep is that I was trying to write. The main reason I don't get more exercise (aside from having a desk job) is because I don't want to give up the little time I do have for writing.

This will get easier as the boys get older. (At least, I dearly hope so!) I was just starting to have some free time again when Secondborn came along, so - assuming the pattern holds - I ought to have some time for my own hobbies in another three or four years.

I'm not sure I should admit this, but... I'm kind of looking forward to the time when Daddy is No Longer Cool. Does that make me a bad person?

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