Routine versus flexibility

I’m about to fess up to my hugest struggle.  This blog is all about my personal struggles regarding writing, so here it is:  The word “routine” is anathema to my psyche.  I can’t seem to apply anything resembling patterns to the act of living my life.  I can’t bring myself to go to bed until I get one more thing done, whether it’s a blog post, some more character development on the outline that’s consuming my thoughts, a couple of paragraphs on a new story idea, correspondence I just remembered I have to get done tonight or a quick load of laundry.  The house is relatively quiet, except for the kitten who has to chase that bottle cap across the floor right now.  He’s obviously a kindred spirit.

On the other hand, one of the qualities I love about myself is that I’m eminently flexible.  I can change my plans (rough and undeveloped as they are) at a moment’s notice.  I can also drop a preconceived opinion and embrace a better one as soon as I realize the error of my ways.  That psyche I mentioned before is always casting about for something new to wrap itself around.  Then I delve into the novel idea until it makes sense and maybe I can even incorporate it into a story.

Eventually, I realize the dryer isn’t tumbling any more, I look at the clock at the bottom of my computer screen and uh-oh – I lost a surprising amount of time – laundry and sleep time.  So some days I make do with two to five hours of sleep.  I really do best with seven to eight, but I can handle shorting myself for a day or two.  When it catches up with me, I have to sleep ten or twelve hours to catch up.

Trying to utilize both of these concepts at the same time are like having a boxing match in my head.  In one corner we have Routine, a fighter who applies unrelenting logic and is a pedantic scrapper.  In the other corner is Flexibility, an innovative, unpredictable brawler.  Who wins?  Me, when they have that initial friendly handshake.  Then they start going at each other.  At the bell, they’re each suffering from wounds of frustration and guilt.

My husband’s middle name should have been “Routine.”  His motto is “Change is bad.”  Add to that a daughter, son-in-law in residence with two granddaughters aged one and three and it’s clear my need to periodically sleep the morning away is not conducive to interrelational harmony.

How this relates to my writing, is I have no set time to write except when everybody goes to bed, but that is not really my most creative time.  I worked at a weekly newspaper several years ago as a reporter.  I found the end of the day was not the best time for me to try to write a story.  It was like pulling teeth.  If I slept even two hours on Deadline Eve, I could write the story at five o’clock A.M. with no trouble at all.

This is a situation I always struggle with – I tend to easily be a night owl, but night-time is not when I’m the most productive creatively.  For me, early morning is when I think best.  Having a job where I work mid-afternoon until as late as midnight doesn’t help either.  I work from home, so when I’m done, I’m still wound up.  What’s a body to do?

When is the best time for you to be productively creative, and how do you carve that time for yourself out of your schedule?  What conundrums do you face?

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Getting back in the saddle

I feel bad that I haven’t had the wherewithal to post lately.  First, my desktop computer bit the dust.  <sigh>  I really miss Windows XP.  Now that I think about it, I still miss some things about Windows 98, too.  The good news is the laptop I inherited from my eldest daughter doesn’t have a bad motherboard after all!  It had a bad cord.  Who knew!  I’m really glad that I’m using it full-time now, and I also got a netbook so I can tote my work around with me.  I got a netbook because it’s smaller and lighter.  Right.  I think I need to start working out again.  It doesn’t seem to weigh much when I cart it from room to room, but when I throw it in my purse, I swear it gains five pounds.  Ugh.  But I’m determined; where I go, it goes.

Second, my brain bit the dust.  It was a minor dust bite, but scary none the less.  My blood pressure was high enough I could count my pulse through my vision on occasion, and also hear my pulse when I woke up sometimes.  I gave myself a mental note to check that out the next time I went to the doctor.  Then I got a sinus headache.  After a few days that was accompanied by a headache that wanted to take the top of my head off periodically.  I never get headaches, so I don’t deal with them well.  I was shooting the breeze with my friend in the car on the way to take the desktop computer to the techs, telling her about my dang headache and I started having trouble finding the words to say what I wanted.  It was a struggle to get out two or three words at a time.  It was frustrating.  It was unnerving.  Within fifteen or twenty minutes, my decongestant and some Tylenol kicked in, my headache went away and my aphasia went with it.  My friend wanted me to go to the emergency room.  Instead I made an appointment with my doctor a couple of days later.  New blood pressure meds were driving up my blood sugar levels, which I’ve been able to control with diet until now.  So it’s on to more testing and trying different meds.

The bottom line is, dealing with the aphasia, the high blood pressure, blood sugar problems, muzzyheadedness from the meds and a general malaise, my creativity levels have been at an all-time low.  Luckily I notice very little after effects from the aphasia, and my thinking ability seems to be coming back also.  Yay!

I’ve been feeling kind of like I did when I was younger, and found myself flat on my back in the dirt, looking up at the horse I had been on a few seconds before.  Once I was sure I wasn’t broken, I dusted myself off and climbed aboard again, a little sore but perhaps a little smarter.  I did love to ride – fast, over obstacles and bareback.  Now I love to write – fast, overcoming obstacles and usually by the seat of my pants.

Meanwhile, that YA vampire story idea that was inspired by the bloodclot red fingernail polish has been percolating amid the mist in my brain and is about ready to flow out my fingers and onto my laptop screen.

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