By Liz Everly
I love these kinds of books between reading other books. (Right now, I’m writing a lot of fiction and tend not to read a lot of fiction at the point in my process.) I think it’s a good idea to reflect over your own writing or creative rituals and wonder how you might possibly change things up a bit so that creativity doesn’t get stale for you.
When I dream about my ideal writing day, it would include the lighting of candles, a little meditation, good music playing, and the drinking of plenty of good tea and coffee. I have thought about adding wine to my ideal routine, but anytime I’ve written while drinking has not turned out well. But throughout my writing life, I’ve always had to just sneak in the writing where I could. And I think it’s been a great teacher for me. If you want to write, you will find a way in between jobs, kids, and a million other things pulling at you.
Before I had children, I use to rise early in the morning before work (as an editor) and write poetry. I wrote everyday. Some of these meditative pieces later became real poems. But many of them did not. It simply did not mater. I was practicing. I was all about Natalie Goldberg’s writing practice, which looking back, has help me a great deal in the long run. (Her book Writing Down the Bones, remains one of my favorite writing books.)
After having children, writing became a whole new exercise in flexibility and self-expectation. Okay, if I can’t write now because the child wants to play or eat or whatever, I need to write when I can. In some way, it’s still like this for me as the mom of a 15-year-old and a 12-year-old. I write when they are in school. Period. It’s gotten to the point that when they are home and occupied and do have the time to write, I still find it hard to write because they are in the house—even though they are no bother at all.
At this point in my life, my routine includes getting up earlier than everybody else and cranking out at least 1,000 words on my work in progress. After everybody is out of the house, I shift gears and either go for run or to the gym. Exercise has become key in getting my brain cells fired up for the rest of the day. Then I sit down and write. Now, it may be blog posts, or social media posts, but I am writing, right? Having a break like this in the day helps me when I’m writing two very different books—cozy mysteries and erotic romances.
As a mom, my schedule is sometimes completely affected by my kids. And I think that’s okay at this point in my professional life and this point in my girls’ lives. I’m sure my routine will change the older they get. I just need to be open to it. But at this point one of the things I can’t imagine writing without is my exercise. Seriously. It’s become so ingrained in the creative process for me.
What about you? What does your writing routine or creative process look like? Do you have a ritual?