There's no end
to the things you might know, depending how far beyond Zebra you go! {Dr. Seuss}

Monday, May 3, 2010

New Month = New Writing Ritual & Schedule

Yay for May! New months feel like a brand new beginning. Sometimes days upon days of writing, writing, and more writing is monotonous and uneventful. So I like changing my routine and schedule every month. Shaking things up in small ways keeps me from going crazy (Oh, wait, I’m a writer–crazy is inevitable!).
Since April was National Poetry Month, I started my writing routine by writing a poem (thanks to Robert Lee Brewer's daily poetry prompts!) and reading poetry (Blake, Keats, Tennyson, and Whittier are my favorites). 
This month I’m trying Morning Pages, a writing ritual Julia Cameron recommends. I think it’s part of her novel The Artist's Way. I haven’t read that one yet, but I learned about Morning Pages in her novel The Right to Write. Cameron suggests writing three pages in longhand as the very first thing you do in the morning. I’ve tried Morning Pages before, and I’m looking forward to keeping up with it even after May is over. 
Morning Pages is a freeing writing experience. There’s no pressure to write anything good. I can write very, very badly and know there’s no editing requirement later. No one will read it but me. Morning Pages helps eliminate pressure from my real writing time. I approach my WiP feeling refreshed, like I’ve washed away some of the day’s unavoidable horrible writing. 
As for my writing schedule, I’m going to continue writing in the morning because that’s my favorite time of day. I’m also going to try writing in the evening this month. Usually after dinner, I’m ready to relax and read. But isn’t it funny how at night time when all you want to do is sleep, your mind is wide awake? I’ve gotten some of my best ideas at night. So instead of fighting it, I’ll take advantage and see what kind of writing magic happens in the evening.
Before the quotes and questions, three thank yous: Alyson held a May Day giveaway in celebration of her favorite month. I am the lucky winner! Thank you so much, Alyson! Your blog is a joy to read. Happy May!!! T. J. Carson is holding a weekly Famous Friday contest. Be sure to check it out; it's super fun! Jennifer Daiker, Susan Fields, and I were last week's winners. Thanks, T.J.! Naomi aka AchingHope held a contest and I am the 3rd winner, wahoo! Wolfie 402 is 2nd winner and Hannah is 1st winner. I’ve entered a lot of contests since I started my blog and am thrilled to win some! Thank you so much! 

Also, I’ve received a bunch of blog awards the past few weeks. I’ve been remiss awarding them to my fabulous followers and will do so soon!

Happy Monday, blog buddies!!!
"The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair."  ~Mary Heaton Vorse

“Mere literary talent is common; what is rare is endurance, the continuing desire to work hard at writing." ~Donald Hall
Share with me!
Do you have a specific writing schedule and rituals? Do you ever change up your routine?


Jayne said...

My muse comes alive at night. I have tried so hard to change this - especially as I work full-time, and cannot stay up until 1am pounding the keyboard - but I know deep down my writing magic works during the dark hours. So I have to schedule this in every so often - usually weekends - or try to trick the muse by shutting the curtains!

Bluestocking said...

I always write longhand. I think differently with a pen in my hands versus my fingers hovering over the keyboard. Plus, whenever you type up your longhand writing, you have another opportunity to read through what you wrote and edit it. This process is time consuming, but it results in polished prose more often than not.

Happy May!

Saumya said...

I'm definitely more awake at night, so I try to do most of my writing then. Maybe I actually need a consistent routine to keep going though!! Good luck with the morning pages; that sounds like a great idea!

OOhhh and I love Keats :)

Steena Holmes said...

I've tried. I've tried getting up early to write, I've tried staying up late to write, I've even tried taking days off work to write.

yet I find I write the most - when I'm at work. LOL. I know it sounds bad. But I'm a receptionist for a car dealership - and yes, there are times (lots of times) I have nothing to do. So I write. And I'm allowed. LOL - go figure.

Tahereh said...

yessss!! good for you and your new plan!! you're going to kick major butt!

great post, great links, great lineup!!

ooo BTW: sorry i keep forgetting to do something i pronouncing my name!! i promise i'll get to that soon!! :D :D


The Daring Novelist said...

I find that I do better with my "morning pages" in the middle of the day. It's kind of a break. Time to think.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I’ve read Artist's Way and have done the morning pages. It worked well, but I got out of the routine somehow and haven’t written morning pages in years. Maybe I should try it again. I don’t have a specific writing schedule but sometimes I wish I would make one and stick to it. Congratulations on your awards!

Alexandra Shostak said...

I can never get my act together enough to write during a certain time of day. But I do usually set goals like "write 2k words a day" or "edit 2 chapters a day" etc. Actually, I didn't even realize it, but April and May for me also have their own rituals, totally unintentionally! Good luck with the morning pages :)

Stacy Post said...

Good luck with the morning pages! I haven't written anything longhand in years. I think my hand might wear out! :) As for my writing routine...I try to write as often as I can when the kids are away. Since I work one night a week, I have an entire school day for writing at least once a week. So my major work gets done then. So far so good! Good question, Laura!

catwoods said...

Good luck with your morning pages. I did those once upon a time, but I'm too disorganized to actually write them first thing. LOL.

However, mornings are my favorite time to write. DH gets up and works out while I get up and write. I get in a good 45 minutes before anyone else wakes up.

IN the summer, my kids don't have to wake up for school, so my writing time is more extended.

Jen said...

Girl you rock! Thanks for pimping my blog out!!!!

My writing schedule is non-existent, I just make sure I have a few minutes or hours each evening to do so, lately it's been with ice cream out on patio but it changes, LOL

koralee said...

Hats off to you my friend..I find writing so hard to do. Have a great new week. xo

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Laura, I'm a night owl, but may be changing it up in the fall, when my youngest goes to school and I'll have more daytime hours to utilize. However, I think I'll end up reserving those hours for my business writing, and night-time will remain for mainly creative work. That's the plan. We'll see. I do think it's important to be flexible, depending on where where we're at in our lives. It sounds like you might have tapped into a writing zone you didn't know existed for you. You'll have to let us know how nighttime writing is going for you!

Shelley Sly said...

I love the Morning Pages idea! I'd love to do that, especially because I usually have very vivid dreams. (Last night I dreamed about characters from a short story I wrote 3 years ago, and it gave me inspiration to rewrite it.) Thanks for the idea!

Jill Kemerer said...

As long as there's coffee, I'm good!

Alyson said...

You're welcome! I love reading your blog. It's insightful and fun!

I need a stricter writing schedule. Both the poem writing and Morning Pages ideas sound great. I'm going to give them a try!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I'll be curious to see how Morning Pages works for you...I've run across several posts on it and everyone seems to love it.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Laura Marcella said...

Jayne- Writing at night is something I've done only when inspiration strikes. It's only been a couple days, but so far I'm liking it!

Bluestocking- I do this, too! Writing in longhand helps me get started. Once my handwriting gets so messy it's illegible, I head on over to the keyboard. You're right: it does help the revision process to start in longhand then transfer it to the computer!

Saumya- Another Keats fan! I'm usually more awake in the morning; I get sleepy when it gets dark! But so far it's working out okay...

Steena- That's awesome you have a job that allows you to write! I sure wish I could find one of those.

Tahereh- Thank you, bestieee!!!

Daring- Actually I don't write my morning pages immediately for this reason: It's so weird, but I can't write first thing in the morning! My fingers can't grip my pencil. It's like their still asleep. So usually I work out first to get my blood moving. Then I can write!

Jane- I haven't read The Artist's Way yet, but I'm looking forward to it. You should try Morning Pages again!

Alexandra- That's really good, though. No matter the time of day you write, what's important is to reach those goals!

Stacy- Thanks! I don't have children, but I always imagine writing moms furiously writing when the kiddies are in school. It makes the most sense of course!

Cat- I get up with my husband, too. When he goes to work I also "go" to work. I've always been a morning person and I get the most writing done then! It's almost summer vacation; I bet you're happy for more writing time coming up!

Jen- Great idea-maybe next month my new ritual will be ice cream on the patio!

Koralee- So.Do.I! Any writer will tell you that writing is hardly easy, lol!

Roxane- With endless writing all the time, sometimes the days can taste so stale. Shaking things up feels fresh and new. Small changes are good!

Shelley- You're welcome! Check out The Artist's Way link if you didn't yet. I hope you like Morning Pages!

Jill- I wish I liked coffee because it smells so delicious! But I can't seem to develop a taste for it. Same with tea, though currently I'm trying to like tea. It's not going so well, haha. I'm a hot cocoa kind of gal!

Alyson- Thank you! I hope either poetry or Morning Pages works out for you!

Elizabeth- I'm curious how it'll work out for me, too. I'll keep everyone posted!

Palindrome said...

WOO-HOO!! I finally won something!

I've never tried Morning Pages. Does this involve writing anything specific or just free writing? I'm curious. I get a ton of ideas in the morning but I haven't yet been a morning writer which is possible because I'm awake at 530 anyway. I might as well get up a little earlier and write. Hmmm...tell me more please. :)

Laura Marcella said...

Palindrome- You write anything at all, whatever comes to mind. And if nothing comes to mind, then write "nothing is coming to my mind" and eventually something does! Check out The Artist's Way link! Definitely give Morning Pages a try. :)