Routine – Good or Bad?

I’ve always been someone who craves a routine. If I fall out of my routine, I fall apart. I’m a big believer in the importance of routine for being productive and accomplishing things in life because I’ve heard many, many successful people extolling the virtues of having a routine.

I have always believe routine to be especially important to being a productive writer. I’ve seen it a thousand times when reading about writing advice from other writers. Almost every one of them seems to swear by some kind of routine as a key to their success.

So when I heard the opposite notion from a writer and person I admire and respect very much (Jedidiah Jenkins), I started to rethink that idea a little bit. I heard a quote from him that totally blew me away and shattered my preconceived notions into a million pieces.

When talking about why he decided to quite his job and ride his bike from Oregon to Patagonia, he had a lot of insightful things to say, but I became fixated on one thing in particular that he said about routine, “the routine is the enemy of time. It makes it fly by.”

I realized he was so right it made me sick. I’ve spent my twenties desperately trying to establish a routine for myself, and in large part I’ve succeeded at that. My twenties have indeed flown by. In fact, I wrote a post not too long ago about how it felt like time was flying by and I needed to slow down.

Jedidiah goes on to talk about why time felt so slow when you were a kid, essentially because you’re learning new things all the time and everything is different, your brain is always engaged and time slows down.

But as you get older, you lose that. Your brain has figured patterns out. You know, more or less, exactly what every day is going to be like. You lose that excitement and wonder that comes from always being surprised. He says that’s why travel and experiencing new adventures as an adult is important, which I certainly agree with.

It’s got me rethinking my own routine both in terms of life and in terms of my writing. Do I need to write at the same time everyday? Do I need to write at the same desk? Do I need to approach each book by writing an outline? Do I need to write everyday? Do I need to set a word count?

These are all things I pretty much adhere to in my writing routine and frankly, I haven’t produced anything all that fantastic. I think I’m going to experiment a little bit and throw some of these notions out the window and see how it impacts my life and my writing.

 

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