When people ask me what my writing routine is, it's like oh, oh, haha, you sweet young soul, you.
— Lauren DeStefano (@LaurenDeStefano) August 20, 2013
People ask me about that too, and I’m never quite sure how to answer. Yes? No? Sometimes? It varies?
I think my ideal day goes something like this: Wake up around 7 AM. Check emails, read blogs — ease into the day. Take the dog for a walk, and then work until lunch. Break briefly for internet stuff, house chores and whatnot. Then work until it’s time to walk and feed Riley again. Have my own dinner, and finally, relax with Andy and a good book or TV show until bed.
In theory, that’s my routine, but in reality, random stuff comes up all the time. (Also, I’m easily distracted, so even if I try to follow the schedule above, the proportion of time spent on each activity isn’t always what it should be…)
I go through phases, too. Maybe it’s due to weather — because my wrists hurt more in the heat and humidity, and when it’s cold out, I have to delay Riley’s walks until the sun has been up for awhile. Or maybe it’s just due to needing change from time to time. Things work until they don’t, you know? At one point I was working from midnight until 3 or 4 AM and then sleeping in until 10 or 11. Not exactly a sustainable lifestyle, but productive while it lasted.
And that’s the thing: it never lasts. No matter what it is. We’ll go on a trip that throws everything off-schedule, or I’ll have a doctor’s appointment in the middle of my preferred work hours, or a whole lot of laundry will pile up and demand to be done, or I’ll just… run out of steam.
(I can only imagine how much more chaotic things must be for writers with kids or jobs, or authors who go on book tours.)
Even knowing this — even knowing that the writing life is completely mutable — I still find myself wondering: What is your writing routine?
I love when other writers are asked this. I love hearing their responses and comparing their days to mine. I admit: When I was younger, I believed (or at least hoped) that I could copy another writer’s routine and it would work for me. It would be some kind of secret key to a successful writing life. Now I know better. Now I know that we’re all just doing the best we can, trying to find what works for us, what works for each new project.
But still, I like the question, and I like the variety of answers. I like trying things that other writers are doing, or feeling a kinship if we’re already doing the same thing. I like that there’s no right or wrong.