On Routines

This weekend, I had some trouble writing. That’s not to say it didn’t get done. It’s to say that it took longer than usual. That happens for me when I shift projects. I stopped on stories this week and began revisions on the screenplay. Today, I wrote about Mr. Pibb. Also: Harry Potter, football, and dolls.

I’m not thinking about writer’s block right now. I’m interested more in writers’ routines. Part of my sluggishness these past few days is tied up with the journal I work on. I usually read some submissions before I start writing. That helps get my mind ready. With submissions slowing down, for whatever reason, I’ve had to jump to my own work.

And it’s slow.

I love hearing about routines. I said I read submissions right when I wake up. I also eat cereal and punch the air a few times before writing. I do air-drums too. I keep internet comics popped in browsers in case I need to stop for ten seconds.

Not teaching this semester has been nice because there is no interruption to my routine. My mornings are always the same. How nice that is.

Some people in the program write in the middle of the night. Some listen to music while they write. Some write around other people. These are routines I don’t quite understand. I heard once that Don DeLillo would write a single paragraph over and over again until it was right. Only then did he move on. That’s a routine I get, even if it’s slow.

I didn’t always have a routine, partly because I had lit classes and classes to teach and essays to write. Back then, the fiction had a lot more section breaks than it does now. That’s interesting to me. This, for instance, is one of the stories I used for my MFA applications. Look at all the breaks. Look at how short the sections are. Aren’t routines important?

I forgot that that link itself has a link to an old blog I kept. It was for my writing.

How silly!

Tim

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