In my writing life I fight to cultivate a routine to make sure I get words written. I also try to squeeze words into every surprisingly spare moment.
I’m an early riser and like to read novels or poetry, or do my own writing, between 6 and 8 a.m. If I start my day with words, I can let myself get swept away by full-time work, doing the dishes, keeping my clothing clean-but-probably-still-wrinkly, crafting, friends, long walks, and whatever else a day might throw at me.
Breaking a routine can be healthy (travel). It can also make me frantic (a big life change).
There’s nothing like a move between apartments over a rainy spring weekend to make you confront the life you’ve built so far. Having to account for and physically carry out all my worldly possessions made me take stock of my life over the past lease (one year in this case). The stuff I’ve accumulated told me what my routines have added up to so far.
Things I don’t have much of, and don’t value all that much: jewelry, designer anything, clothing that’s not practical, furniture? (I just bought a bed).
Things I have a lot of, and clearly value: Books (HEAVY! WHY?), notebooks, pens, stationary, postcards, photographs, loose tea, ingredients to cook with, mugs, warm blankets, coffee accouterments.
I saw that I’ve tried to build a life that frees me up to go out and explore the world. When I return, I come home to coffee and books and a warm bed.
I also had to pack up two novels I began writing but never finished, Spanish flashcards I haven’t practiced with in a year, and a failed attempt at quilting-by-hand. It made me ask, What have I let fall by the wayside? The interruption of a move makes me reexamine my time and priorities.
A new lease begins! A new routine to cultivate! I vowed to be more dedicated, to squander less time, to finish what I started.
And yet, waiting for a bed delivery, I was able to pick up and be absorbed by a novel. I don’t want to become so rigid that I can’t find a free moment to try something new or unexpected. Those moments are part of the creative process, too.
Laura Eppinger graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA in 2008 with a degree in Journalism, and she’s been writing creatively ever since. She the blog editor here at Newfound Journal.