I lose track of things when I don’t go to work. Things like what day it is, what time it is, when it was that I last ate. My sleep patterns go to hell. I’ll sit down to type an email at 10 AM and look up to discover that it’s now 4 AM the following morning and I’ve eaten nothing but cheese slices for the last nine hours.
There’s a reason I dislike taking holidays.
A lot of the advice around writing is built around habit, and habits are burnt in by particular triggers and sequences of behaviour. Most of mine are built around going to and from work, which makes the absence of work problematic.
Even worse is this: I am pretty good at avoiding the siren song of the internet when I’ve only got an hour or two to get some writing done. I am terrible at it when I’ve got an entire day to work with and no pressing reason to do things now.
Net result: December will have the lowest cumulative word-count I’ve had in over a year.
It’s been making me kinda grumpy. Increasingly so, over the past few days.
Because I am an idiot, it’s taken me eleven days to realise that I already had a sequence of habits coded in that would combat this. They just didn’t involve the computer.
So, today, I did a sensible thing that I should have done ten days back, when the time away from work kicked off – I broke out the notebook and started hand-writing again. Using perhaps the prettiest notebook in my collection of notebooks I’d been given in years past, which is an absolute pleasure to write in.
This, in turn, made it much easier to get to the part of the day where I sat down and rewrote things. Also, the laundry. And cooking dinner. ‘Cause, really, when you get one of these things right, everything else starts to click into place.
Habits are weird. And less static than you’d think.