Borrowing from the “Kink Tomato” acronym of MKINYKATOK, which stands for “My Kink Is Not Your Kink And That’s OK.” This one stands for:
My Routine Is Not Your Routine And That’s OK.
People like to go through the things that famous people do as if that’s a guaranteed recipe for anyone else to have the same success. Spoilers: it isn’t. It’s their recipe for getting through a day. It most definitely will not work for you, but only some parts of it might be helpful.
There was a famous author at one point or another whose famous Writing Snack was a glass of bourbon. I cannot do that because allergic to alcohol.
That’s the short version. The long version is that I have an adverse reaction to the sulphur-related preservatives in most-to-all Europe-origin alcohols, and everything not on that list causes me to forget to breathe in. Not fun for this author, as you may guess.
I have mental topography and a biological system that may not match your own. I have things wrong with me that cannot be fixed – chronic asthma, anxiety, and autism being amongst the top three. Though the jury is still out as to whether autism is “something wrong”. My success story – debatable, because I’m not a success yet – cannot be yours because you might not have the same stuff going on that I do.
That said, I should probably go through my weekday routine because people are fascinated by this stuff for some reason. I may go into depth about the fascination with Things Successful People Do later on, but I digress.
My days usually start close to three in the morning when I just can’t sleep any more. Thanks to ashwagandha, I stand a chance of sleeping until four, but because of a few 2AM wake-ups, the average is still three in the morning. See what I mean about my routine. You can’t deliberately do that.
Depending on my state of mind at the time, I use the time window between waking up and having to get up [5:30 in the morning, for those keeping score] to do one of the following:
- Catch up with internet news
- Play casual games on my phone
- Snuggle with Beloved for some haptic reward
- Write something that is eating a hole in my think-space
I can tell you for free that the fourth one is rarer than the other three. Most common is farting around on my phone. As you might guess, this step is not on anyone’s list for successful habits.
Once I have to get up, my morning is filled with making sure my little darlings are organised, since I’m the one who’s most conscious in the mornings. Much though I love my SO, they’re the one who’s up all night and consequently needs the lie in.
Some time after the kids are sorted out, I get onto my Instant Story for the day. An exercise that I credit for my complete lack of writers’ block.
I used to complain about not getting to have breakfast until ten in the morning. Now that I’ve gone to the ketogenic side of the diet spectrum, I often don’t have more than one meal a day. It consists of pork or beef, sometimes a chicken thigh, or, if I feel like it, some eggs and cheese. Veggies are leafy greens that have been fried up in what I call a “green fry”. The pork is generally deep fried because I crave crunch, but everything else is grilled on the grill press.
Keto is recommended for people with inflammatory disease, autistics, and type 2 diabetics because it helps manage all of those. Your mileage may definitely vary, and check first if it’s okay for you before plunging in wholesale. Do your own googling, make up your own mind. Ahem.
My diet helps me think clearer but does not completely obliterate my high distractibility factor. Some days are better than others, but the others are the ones in which my brain would rather do literally anything else but focus on my tasks. Also, my diet helps me manage my asthma, but I still have to contend with Sneezin’ and Wheezin’ Season. The overall effects are lessened, but not gone.
When I can focus, the words fly by and I’m done before noon, thus freeing up my day for dicking around with whatever suits my fancy at the time. Most normally, catching up with my favourite podcasts, fanarts, or Discord groups.
When I can’t focus, it takes me all day just to get one thing done, and a struggle to get the rest of it done before bedtime.
Of course, there are also days in which Other Shit Has Priority, and it’s a panicked rush to get the things done, but those are statistical outliers.
I make myself put five hundred words per day into my novel-in-progress unless it’s Friday. In that case, I put in a thousand words so that my weekends are relatively free for family-oriented dicking around and otherwise having what passes for a life.
I say “relatively” because my Instants happen every day of the year except Christmas. That’s the one day that I don’t actually do anything creative unless I want to. It’s a;so the time of year that I catch the most shit for being on a computer, so win-win.
Afternoons include the general run-around for brat fetching, shopping, or any other whatnot that may need to occur, so that’s the usual time for fanficcery unless I’ve been slow on my appointed word count du jour. Fanfic is one of those projects that doesn’t require mental immersion to surface from or sink into, so it becomes my ‘carry piece’ during the other busy portion of my day.
If I have to do more running around than usual, and I suspect a case of “hurry up and wait”, I’ll always take my laptop so I can work on things during the ‘wait’ portion of that noise.
In the end, though, it isn’t the routine or the word count or the diet that makes a successful writer. It’s the relentless writing that does it. Never giving up, never stopping, never taking a hiatus, that sort of thing.
Writers write. Being good at it takes little more than practice.
Boy howdy do I get a lot of practice in.