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Morning Routines for Dummies

I have an issue with creating a morning routine that meets all of the criteria I have for starting the day off right; there are too many things to do and too little time. Given my particular leanings, morning is the best time for me to accomplish several tasks, most of which are too time consuming to do all of them in the morning. This doesn’t even take into account a morning hygiene routine, which we’ll come back to later. These are the things I would like to do in the morning:

  • Bible study/prayer/worship
  • write
  • edits/revisions
  • critique chapters for my critique partners
  • finish reading books to review
  • write reviews
  • Wrangle with writing synopses and query letters.
  • CLEAN
  • do laundry
  • exercise
  • use my crockpot to start dinner.
  • shower, brush my teeth, wash my face, fix my hair
  • fix or go get breakfast.
  • catch up on social media.
  • post to social media.
  • write blog posts.
  • work on improvements to my websites.
  • Look for cool things to bring to my blogs and sites.
  • Try to figure out how the heck to build my brand.
  • catch up on Netflix
  • light scented candle, put on classical music, and just exist for a few minutes
  • specialty beauty things–eyebrows, home mani/pedis, shaving my legs, facial masks, washing drying and styling my hair, any beauty treatment that is less frequent than daily.
  • Wake up my brain with word scramble.

I have two hours in the morning to get everything done except getting showered and dressed, which I leave about half an hour to forty-five minutes for (I’m not a fussy girl, apparently). I’m sure you can imagine how getting into any of the above tasks can bleed over into my getting dressed time, especially if I’m in a groove. There’s just not enough morning in my days.

I know you’re probably thinking I could shove some of these things into the evening, and I always have plans to accomplish so much when I get home. But when I get home, I am exhausted both from the early start and the hard day at work. Depending on the time of the month, I am drowning in invoices and reports. The last thing I want to do is come home and take laundry to the laundry center (it might be different if there was a washer and dryer in the apartment) or wash a sink full of dishes. I have much more energy in the morning.

So how does one solve this dilemma? If I could spend a few days just cleaning everything in sight and catching up on all of the things I need to do, I could do one or two things each morning going forward. At the moment, however, there’s just an overwhelming amount of things to do. I tried doing one cleaning thing, one writing thing, and bible study each day, but the area would be during again before I had another area finished, and the critiques would be due and it’d be time to swap more chapters, so I had to drop everything and do that, then I needed to… I can’t seem to get any traction.

The short version of this post: I am incapable of doing all the things I am better at tackling in the morning in the two and a half hours I have before work and I need suggestions on how to start making inroads into it. Seriously. I really want to get serious about this morning routine, but right now I am all over the place. Help!!

XOXO,

Erica

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Just Dropping in

I haven’t been here in a while because I’ve been writing like a crazy person on the book. I have finally found a rhythm and a writing space that works for me where I’m guaranteed to get some words  on the page, and having that routine is helping the book to flow. It also helps that I have an outline of what I want to say in each section before I sit down to write it. Two of the things I have fought the hardest not to do turn out to help me the most, at least in non-fiction writing; who would have thought (besides everyone)?

I usually wake up in the mornings, pray, study the word, maybe pray again, then get to the writing. I tried to spend at least one hour in the morning just writing. I like to do my editing of the morning’s writings at lunchtime or after work when I can’t fit the writing in until lunch. Some days I write in the morning and at lunch and edit at night or the next morning. I don’t have a word count goal, just a time goal. At least one hour a day spent writing. It’s working for me.

The biggest thing that has happened with the book is I have decided upon a few deadlines. I have a deadline to finish writing, a deadline to finish my editing, and a deadline to turn it over to an editor I trust. I have a target date for publication if I go the self-published route. The deadlines are hard deadlines that I plan to stick to, totally doable, and scary. I was told that the deadline should make you a little uncomfortable and be a little challenging, so it is. I will share deadlines a little later.

The moment I told someone what my deadline was, I felt peace. Yes, this is the right time to get it done. Then I felt panic. Oh crap, I’m going to have to get this done! I haven’t been worrying about what will happen when I’m done writing, but once I set a deadline, those thoughts began to creep in. I began to think about the market and who will buy this book. The market is flooded with this type of book from all types of people. Most of my friends have no need for this book, so who is going to buy it? Why couldn’t I publish another book first? But this is the book that I feel needs to be out first. It’s the book I’ve gotten the furthest on and sacrificed the most to get done. I mean, I got a laptop and bought ink for my printer for this book!

I hope that you all are doing what you feel you should be doing and working hard to achieve your goals as well. I have to get ready for work.

XOXO

Erica

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Getting Back into a New Groove

A photo of The Thinker by Rodin located at the...
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Yes, that’s meant to be as contradictory as it sounds. In typical me fashion, I made my trip back to Michigan epic in my mind. I wanted to cram so many things into it. First of all, there’s all the “feel the feelings” crap I wanted to…well, feel…that I thought would be helpful to record for one of those memoirs I’ve been thinking and scribbling about (the college one, if you were dying to know). Secondly, there was the prospect of going through all of my old notebooks and papers, rediscovering all of my old stories, and possibly finding something that sparks my creativity again and is just begging to be written (that happened, in case you were wondering, but is an entirely different entry). At some point, I wanted to visit friends and old haunts, feel that weird double consciousness feeling where you’re as aware of how you were when you were there before as you are of how you are now in the same physical place. Ultimately, I was there to see my brother graduate and to take a vacation from routine.

We all need a break from routine every now and then, even if we LOVE routine. To be honest, I like to know what comes next. I like things to be going according to plan. I have even been known to like routine. I mean, I’m the person who gets the same meal from restaurants. Still, sometimes routine can become monotonous or even a rut.

I felt myself getting into a bit of a rut–in my writing, in my relationships, in this blog. Things were going along on autopilot. I got up, went to work, did the same thing I’d done the previous weekday, went home, continued watching the same television series I watched the day before, got ready for bed. I was past comfortable and content; I’d entered apathy.

Part of the reason I was so looking forward to this trip is because I was planning things again, trying to figure out how to squeeze everything into a jam packed schedule. But the best thing about the trip was the opportunity to come back with fresh eyes. Now, instead of just going to work as per usual, I was returning to work. I had to get back into the groove of how I did things.

The best thing about returning to a routine is that it’s like seeing it for the first time. With this fresh perspective, you can better identify things you want to change, things you need to add or take out of your normal routine. Now that you’ve stepped away from it and come back to it, you can better see some of the decay, the warts, if you will. If you want, you can develop a whole new routine! There’s something to be said, in any case, for fresh perspective.

It’s a lot like how I believe Bikram yoga to be. From what I’ve read, Bikram yoga utilizes the same flow, the same poses, each session. The goal, then, is to become better at holding the poses, then to be able to go deeper into the poses, stretching more, challenging yourself. Each class, you can decide whether you want to go for more or perfect where you are. Either way, you are improving, even though you’re doing the same old thing.

One day, I would love to wake up at six in the morning, eat breakfast, go for a run, then sit down to write. I would love to be in touch with my agent and editor, to do book tours, to facilitate discussions at book club meetings. I would love to give commencement addresses or talks about writing. I would love for my routine to be completely transformed. But I also know there’s some value in challenging myself to try to reach a little further and get a little bit better at my current routine. I may not be able to escape the 9-5 lifestyle, but I can escape the rut.

So, this morning, I’m embracing the thought of settling back into a new groove, smooth, well worn, but with twists and bends yet to be carved out.

XOXO

2blu2btru

P.S. I’m still accepting questions about love, dating and marriage for the Licensed Mental Health Counselor marriage kit interview this Saturday! Comment, tweet me (@2blu2btru), or email me at 2blu2btru4u[at]gmail[dot]com.