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I just got back from vacation, and I'm trying to get back into my writing and exercise and everything-else habits. Because that's what writing or exercise or anything you want really want to needs to be: a habit. If your hobbies aren't habits, you won't do them.

Coming back from vacation is a lot like starting all over again from scratch. Setting tiny goals like 250 new words a day or playing the guitar for 15 minutes or keeping to your exercise schedule. Meeting them. Step by step getting the positive habits running again.

It seems that I only have time for about three daily hobbies. I've tried several times working in a fourth or fifth, and things just start spinning out of control pretty quick. Accountability, like this journal, helps, but really I think that there's just so much time to spend when you're working full time.

What I'm working on now is setting up some hobbies on specific days of the week. Amtgard is like this. Running could easily be like this. Following certain TV shows (as much as I hate TV, sometimes shows really are good) can be like this. The trick is to make it repeatable. And to make sure it's fun. And to make sure that there's enough breathing room to see the wife and child.

One of the things I've done to get my novel writing back on track is to start reading my novel at bedtime to my wife to get her feedback. Mostly I can do this because we've already established "Harry Potter Time" where we read to the baby (really to each other), and also the baby is too young to understand my novel (which is very violent). We're about 1/4 of the way in already, and I'v found a lot of things I hadn't found before. The novel will be greatly improved by this.

I have also started working on some of my short stories again and -- every once in a while -- feel the stirrings of new ideas. I know everyone says it, but it's true -- the muse strikes most often when you're already writing. The work of writing, it seems, has a snowball effect on your creativity. Ideas start smashign and crashing around everywhere.

Sure, you have to read to write (as the saying goes), but you have to WRITE to write too.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
jongibbs
Nov. 19th, 2009 08:01 pm (UTC)
'...the muse strikes most often when you're already writing...'

Actually, I've found she tends to give me the best ideas when I'm either half asleep, and would really rather not have to sit up and write in my notepad, or when I'm in the shower - I really need to get a waterproof notice board fitted.

Great post! Thanks for sharing :)
clarionj
Nov. 20th, 2009 08:49 pm (UTC)
Good point about making it a habit, and your analogy to watching a TV show really works. I think as much as we say "I'm going to write for two hours this weekend," we don't get specific enough, almost don't allow ourselves sometimes (at least me) because it feels a little too much like pleasure--and are we supposed to be having fun without the family? Yet people sit down for hours in front of the TV without guilt. Hmm...

Funny about reading the novel to the baby. I'd forgotten that I used to read my novel aloud to my kids (at that age when they couldn't understand). I hope it didn't get wired into their brain somehow. Thanks for the post--I linked here from jongibbs's posting.
sboydtaylor
Nov. 21st, 2009 12:12 am (UTC)
Thanks for the link-to, and yeah, I don't know what I do when she's older. Glad you liked the post.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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