Joel’s Journal – December 8, 2016

When the sun comes out to play on your lunch break.
When the sun comes out to play on your lunch break.

Novel Word Count

A brief Friday morning writing session produced a few hundred words.

117,760

A brief Friday morning writing session produced a few hundred words.

Follow Along

How I get shit done

Entry #38

I’m a man of routine, I always have been.

That, and I’ve always dressed way too warmly for the weather; ask my mom.

When I was a kid, while my three brothers wore bathing suits to the beach, like normal human beings, I was decked out in my full Power Rangers sweat pants and sweater. I remember that sweatsuit too, it was sick. It was dark grey, with a massive picture of all the Rangers on the front. It wasn’t just the badassery of the suit itself that caused me to wear it to the beach, perhaps I just wanted to stay warm.

I don’t know. This has followed me into my adulthood and even now, I’ll catch myself out on a hike in the hot sun shedding layers because I wanted to be sure I wasn’t too cold.

Anyways, let’s talk routine. I truly believe as a writer you need routine.

Perhaps there are some writers out there who can just create anytime, any place. For me, that’s only true at the beginning, when I’m really feeling a project. I could move my desk into the middle of rush hour traffic on the 401 and still manage some solid word counts.

That aside, I’m talking about getting a solid word count on a daily basis, because eventually that super-fuelled feeling of euphoria that comes at the start of any brilliant idea, never lasts. And when that drug wears off, it’s routine that is going to carry you to the project’s completion.

Here’s a look inside my daily morning routine that’s been working for me these past few months.

1. Sound the alarm

M always laughs at me because I set a bunch of different alarms, generally about 15 minutes apart, starting at 6 a.m. and all with different sounds. In the last couple years I’ve had to adapt to the fact that I don’t wake up very easily anymore. I used to wake at the lightest of sounds, but now it takes a little bit more. The several alarms are to deter me from hitting snooze and the different sounds keep me from cancelling out the same noise in a sleep induced stupor.

2. Coffee

Plain and simple, the first thing I do when I get out of bed, after slipping into some pants, whether it be my sweats at the foot of the bed or my jeans from the day before, I plod into the living room and immediately smell the freshly brewed coffee in the kitchen. I grind the coffee beans and fill the coffee maker up the night before and set the timer to start at 6:30. That way when I finally make it through my alarms and get out of bed the coffee is ready to go.

3. Back to bed

Snagging my laptop from my desk I slip back into the soft warmth of the sheets and open the computer on my lap as I sip the hot coffee. My apartment is in an old Victorian home and the windows are terrible for letting in the cold. With my bed right beside one of these, the cold water heater beneath it has a hard time competing. So, the warmth of the bed is a dire necessity in the mornings. If M has spent the night I’ll take my coffee laptop and spare quilt to the couch in the living so as to not disturb her with my incessant clicking of keys.

4. Social

Before I get to writing, I’ll check my social media and emails briefly as I wipe the sleep from my eyes. Partly I’ll check to wake myself up, and partly because I’m kind of addicted to Instagram and need to get my fix before delving into work.

5. Off to the races

Generally, I’ll leave my story at an easy point in the plot where I know what is going to happen next. That way when my fingers hit the keys, I’m practically halfway to the start line already and it prevents those blinking cursor jitters.

It’s really that simple, but it all helps get the message to my brain that we are about to be creative and he better wake the hell up and show up, which he often does.  I’ll usually be able to get in about an hour of work before I need to start thinking about getting ready for the office. Before I get up to shower and get breakfast, I’ll post the daily blog from the day before and call it a great morning.

Thanks for reading,

J.J.W.