wow – I admire your discipline behind those morning pages. I recently read an article about the website 750words.com, that helps you to evaluate and optimize your writing habits. They call it Quantified Writing. The fact that you get up at 6 in the morning is even more remarkable. Germany is two hours behind Kampala right now. When I get up at 8 you have already finished 4 hours of writing.
“When” I get up at 8 is a good starting point to talk about my writing routine. I always wish there would be more of “writing” and more of “routine” in my writing routine. I still have to learn that consistence is an illusion. That there are simply periods where you write more or less. But my ideal writing routine in my ideal world (where you don’t have to earn money and life isn’t happening), looks like this:
I get up in the morning at 8 in order to finish each and everything human up to 9. That’s when I start writing. Every hour I try to have a 10 minutes break. At 1 in the evening I have a 30 minutes break. Afterwards I work another 4 hours. All in all 8 hours a day. Like my parents. Like every other human being.
Routine/Structure/Discipline is very important for my writing. More important than any room situation or a tea or coffee next to my laptop. On the one hand because I’m convinced someone’s writing only improves through writing. On the other hand because I always have to prove myself that writing is actually my job. It can be difficult to write on your first novel, not knowing if the last three or fours years will ever pay off. Since everything could go wrong I sometimes think: My writing routine is all I have. If I mess up that one, too, I could outright pack my bags.
Another important thing is not to think about writing while not writing. When I started to write short stories I carried my work with me all the time. In a way I was sitting at my desk the whole day. And felt exhausted or run out when I really had to write. I know some writers say writers are always observing, notating, working. I sometimes think they shouldn’t. Hemingway says a writer should go out and eat and drink and love life. Since these things can be expensive I tend o add: Get yourself a real job.
Apart from the fact that I need consistence I like to see my writing routine as a dynamic process. That can and has to change any time. That I observe and optimize and adjust again and again. Maybe this can become a routine, too.