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Category: Writing

Just as some footballers follow a routine and feel compelled to eat spaghetti  or put their left sock on first lest the game may be lost, it is said many writers adhere to a routine.

As a young mum I was told that babies find security in routine and to some extent I think adults do too – e.g. we brush our teeth at night before going to bed and we like our tea or coffee a certain way. So for the purposes of this blog, I began to look at routines.

Dr Heidi Grant Halvorsen, a social scientist and psychologist has written a book called 'Succeed' and  in it she explains, "Routines remove the need to deliberate over what you should do (which takes time and energy) because once you've established a routine you have already made those decisions."    

She has some interesting things to say about motivation and the- not- feeling- like-doing- something-syndrome such as,  not feeling like finishing that novel or not feeling like redrafting that chapter.  The link to her website is here.

Returning to writers and their routines, there is myriad information on the often quirky practices.

Consider, Anthony Trollope who wrote from 5-30am – 8-30am and believed that he must write 250 words per quarter hour. This exactitude worked as he completed  49 novels in 35 years whilst working in a post office during the day.

John Grisham, at the beginning of his writing career would set his alarm for 5am. He tells how he had to shower and be seated at his desk no later than 5-30am. With his first cup of coffee and a legal pad to hand, the first word had to be written at exactly 5-30am. It was fortunate his office was only five minutes away as this is where he spent the remainder of the day working as a lawyer.

The strangest routine I came across and one that as a nurse causes me to shake my head in horror is that of W.H Auden. It said he took Benzedrine every day for twenty years to stimulate his writing brain and barbiturates (Seconal) to sleep. He was not alone in this practise according to the article linked below.

All of this makes my routine of waking early, doing the mandatory jobs of feeding dogs, cat, children & husband – not necessarily in that order, seem very tame!  Once the tribe has left for the day and the house is quiet, I can begin. Radios and televisions are turned off, my laptop is turned on and the coffee is made.

I was told many years ago that three games of solitaire will stimulate the creative brain and I admit to being ever hopeful and following this practise. Then, if the muse is with me, off I go and the wonderful transition into the writing world begins.

Please share your routines here- don't be shy!  Let's see what we do or don't have in common as a group.

Happy Writing!

This Week on Writers Abroad 24 March
Category: Site News

Good morning! The equinox has passed and it's getting unbearably hot and humid in Dhaka, although we had a freak violent storm with massive hailstones the other night!

We had a big turnout at yesterday's meeting: do go over to the meeting room and catch up if you weren't able to be there.

Following yesterday's meeting, Jo will be putting up two new forums about our gap year activities: one on showcasing our work and boosting traffic to our site (via FB, Twitter etc.), and another about creating a magazine in which to feature our work.

Glyn has posted a huge variety of muses this week, from a story to a poem, some drama, evidence, a letter...plenty to get us out of our comfort zones and into some creative thinking!

On the Bragging Stool, we have Vanessa, whose 'House at Zarzosa'   novel will be published soon. 

The new April Challenges are up. Do pop in to the March challenges if you haven't already, and read Jill, Dianne and Alyson's pieces.

There's a new 'Reunion'  thread under 'Bits and Bobs'...let's see how many Writers Abroad can get together this year!



This Week on Writers Abroad March 17th
Category: Site News

Hooray, the sun is shining in NL and looks like winter is drawing to an end. Daffodils are already blooming, tulips cascade from bicycle panniers and lambs gambol in the meadows. What do they say about March; in like a lion, out like a lamb? Or vice versa – which means winter could have a sting in its tail yet!

  • The March Writing Challenge is open and Alyson and Dianne have posted their work for your perusal. Do pop over if you're in group three. Or pop over anyway for two entertaining reads. Vesna is also looking for writing buddies to join her in the campnanowrimo challenge, scheduled for April.

  • Jayme has supplied us with a tempestuous selection of muses. Let your ideas overflow and write about the disruptive effects of climate change and extreme weather.

  • On The Bragging Stool are Laura and Glyn. Laura has had a piece of flash fiction published in an anthology: Another Hong Kong. Published by the Hong Kong Writers Circle. Glyn has a collection of poetry being published soon. Acting as his own agent, he also shares some useful advice about negotiating a publishing contract.

  • Glyn is also looking for reviewers to read his new book, The Good Doctor. Go to Bits and Bobs for more details.

  • Next Formal chat is Sunday 23rd March at 11.00 am CET on Skype. Jill is in the chair.

Well that’s it! Hope you all have a very creative week! My face-to-face writer chums are heading over to chez moi this afternoon and I'm making apple crumble. Shhh, it's a surprise, don't tell anyone...




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