Work, Play, and the Challenge of a Writing Routine

Common wisdom holds that it’s important to have a writing routine.

For example, I wake up early and write for an hour before I go to work.  Sometimes I find my way back to the keyboard during my lunch break or after I get home, and I try to write for another five hours over the weekend, resulting in a bare minimum of ten hours of writing a week.

I’ve done this for a long time, and I’m starting to run into the work-pleasure problem.

That is, when you turn something you enjoy (a hobby, a pleasure, like writing) into something more like a job (something you have to do every day) by making it a routine or a requirement.  It’s simply not as “special” when you do it every day for a certain amount of time at the same time.

All Work and No Play

Michael Hyatt recommends changing your thinking (his exact words are “shifting your vocabulary”) from “I have to” to “I get to.”  In other words, instead of thinking “I have to write this morning for an hour,” I should think, “I get to write this morning for an hour.”

Which is a great, and probably a more objectively correct way of thinking about my relationship to writing and the world.

But sometimes I can’t help myself.  Sometimes I lapse into the “I have to” thinking, and sometimes I just can’t get out of bed to write.  Or sometimes I don’t reach my ten hours.  Sometimes I’m lazy, and sometimes writing feels more like an obligation than a privilege.

RD & KD BFF

Creative Commons License Kevin Dooley via Compfight

How do you keep yourself writing day in and day out?  How do you solve the work-pleasure problem?

About Dante Rasera

Originally from Upstate New York, I live in Brooklyn, New York, where I work in development at a nonprofit organization that provides arts education for New York City public school students. I graduated with a degree in creative writing from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. During my time there, I studied literature at the University of Edinburgh and was awarded the Thomas E. Meehan Prize in Creative Writing.
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