On Routines, Learning, & Getting Stuff Done…

This week’s to-do list

Last week was about as unproductive as they come, with not one thing checked off on the ol’ to-do list. I did make progress on a few things, but for the most part, it was a bust. Work was busy, motivation was low, and TV was good. And there was my birthday on Friday too, which didn’t help with the motivation issue. Some weeks are just like that…nothing to do but keep moving forward. 
Regular readers here know that routines are the lifeblood of…well…my life. Routines are how I get things done – when my routines are interrupted or fail for whatever reason, it pretty much shakes up my whole world. And yes, a lot of that is psychological, but it’s also an efficiency thing. I tend to schedule things pretty tightly, according to how much time they should take, but nothing is one hundred percent predictable, so things run longer than they should on a regular basis, which tilts the whole weekly routine thing again. 
I actually built “wiggle room” into my weekly writing schedule this year – quite a lot, actually. A whole day’s worth (which equals about an hour) to expressly be used for catching up whatever gets pushed back or runs long from the first two days of the week. And aside from that, the last two days of the week are for working on drafts that are not serialized…so the scenes have no actual due-date. If I need to work serial scenes on those days too, I can. 
And thank goodness for that, because I pushed it last week. I barely got my three regular Friday scenes done, and I haven’t even started tomorrow’s scene yet (it’s on today’s list). Like I said, it was one of those weeks. 
But I had an epiphany last week – and it actually sort of bonked me over the fingers a couple times before it really sank in. Something finally sort of came to the forefront with my writing, and I’m starting to see what’s wrong with my books. Why they aren’t as good as they could be. Not that I thought they were perfect before (and I’m not saying they’re bad either), but something just clicked as I was reading/writing last week, and I knew what I needed to learn to take my books to the next level. 
This isn’t something someone could have just told me…I mean, I knew it on a basic knowledge-type level. But it’s differen
t when you finally internalize a concept, and it becomes more of a “feeling” rather than just something you know. And sometimes it takes awhile for that knowledge to transfer from the head to more of an instinctual thing…but the only way that can happen is if you keep *doing* – keep practicing whatever it is that you can’t quite grasp. 
It’s like the knitting technique I’ve been trying to master lately. I’ve restarted it no less than four times, and “undone” stitches several times when I knew I made a mistake. I’ve had the instructions in front of me the whole time, and it’s an easy pattern, not difficult to understand at the head level in the least. But in practice, it’s a lot more complex to pick up, and the only way *to* pick it up is just to keep practicing. 
Same thing with the writing…there are a lot of craft-type techniques that I *know* in my head, but struggle to translate to the actual story. And the only thing I can do is just keep writing, keep practicing, keep hitting it from different angles until finally that “a-ha!” lightbulb comes on. It’s a magical thing when that happens, no matter what I’m doing. 
But I’ll tell you what – all that floundering around trying to figure things out really screws with my routines. Dang it. Scenes take longer to write, yarn projects take longer to complete, and to-do lists don’t get checked off. It’s enough to drive a borderline OCD gal crazy.
And then there’s my weekly goal to catch up with a month’s worth of BSB bookkeeping – a task I’m failing miserably at. It’s really not going to be so bad if I just get started, and do a little at a time. I just…need to force myself to do it. And schedule a time, probably, since clearly just letting it float for the week isn’t working at all. 
Honestly though, I’ve been letting the business side of my writing flounder for awhile now – I just don’t really have the proper motivation to work it as hard as I probably should. But I am going to get back into it, just slowly. So I don’t burn out (which is basically what I did last time). 
Much to think about this week, eh? 
In any case, it’s Monday, but a federal holiday (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), so I’m off work and planning to get my writing caught up, some editing done, and the housework I so lazily put off this weekend caught up as well. Funny how “I should vacuum & clean off the dining room table” became “I’ll spend the next three hours cleaning off the kitchen cupboard”, isn’t it? You know you’ve sunk to a new low when you procrastinate on chores with other cleaning projects. But my kitchen counter/mail center does look a lot better. 
So far this morning, I’ve changed the burnt out lightbulb in the office and cleaned off the desk (yes, that’s my desk up at the top of this post, and yes, that’s “clean” – or clean enough to work on, anyways), so it’s all ready for writing/editing. As soon as I post this, I’ll make a list of everything I want to get done today, and break it up into chunks of sitting/activity, so I’m not sitting for more than an hour at a time (healthier to move once an hour!). A quick shower, another cup of tea, and I’ll be off and running. It’s gonna be a good day.  

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2 comments on “On Routines, Learning, & Getting Stuff Done…

  1. Ardee Eichelmann

    I hope that your day off is going well and has been super productive for you. Sometimes schedules just don’t fall into place for one reason or another. I hope that this week works out better for you.

    As for your epiphany, I think we can all benefit from such “aha” moments. There isn’t anything we do that we cannot improve upon with practice. I wish you well as you continue to write, write, write and I get to read, read, read.



  2. Jamie D.

    Thanks Ardee-ann. It wasn’t as productive as it could have been, but productive enough that I’m happy with it. 🙂 And yes indeed, practice, practice, practice! I’m so glad you’re reading as I go – you’ve no idea just how much it motivates me to know you’re out there waiting. 😉

    I hope you have a fabulous week as well!