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A Writer’s Schedule

Sunrise June 23, 2020.

Letting go begins with acceptance that life now has the potential to be better. It’s hard to let go of the fact the coronavirus forced me into retirement from outside work. Resentment lingers.

I recently declared on my Twitter profile I am a “blogger, writer, gardener, human.” Writing that description was a first order organizer. It is accurate in how my time is spent each day: I’m focused on creating better writing and being a decent human. However, habits persist from the before time, before the coronavirus pandemic. I want the diversity of my creative output to increase. Continuing old habits will produce the same results therefore they must improve through conscious change.

My daily process of waking, making coffee, and descending the stairs to my writing table was built on the premise creative work had to be done before the day’s activities began. Until July 2009 that meant before working a high profile, energy-consuming job. When I started blogging in 2007, a majority of the hundreds of thousands of words written since then were created before sunrise or immediately thereafter. They were written before going to work.

Now that work outside home has been eliminated there is an opportunity to break past habits and embrace a new writing paradigm.

Today, light coming around curtains on the east-facing window is a reminder to finish and get on with the day. Habits built around working persist. Habits can be broken and re-shaped into something more suited to today and provide a positive influence on writing. How does one do that?

At the core of my working career in the before time was the impulse or urge to separate my creativity from the work I had taken on to buy a house, spend time with family, and pay the electricity, gas, sewer, transportation and communications bills. Some measure of creativity was devoted to paid work, yet until recently I had not been able to bring everything together. Work remained separate, something about which I felt I shouldn’t write. Whatever efforts I made in the interim period to blend these aspects of daily life, after the coronavirus everything changed: it is a clean break.

What life will be is unclear.

For now I know few other ways to start my day and feel I have accomplished something positive. I can’t envision private time — leisurely breakfast, exercise, coffee, house cleaning, conversation — before going to work at writing by mid-morning. I am not now a night person. I feel uncomfortable with big changes although what may be best is blowing up the before time habits and letting life fall where it may. Worse things could happen.

The opportunity is to design a writer’s schedule with writing more at the center, less based on habits formed over decades. While habits play a role in life, we’d go crazy without them, from time to time self-awareness is needed and can be a positive force. There has been no time like now.

Morning writing will be ongoing while I sift through this. In summer it’s hard to stay indoors so desire to finish and get outside continues. By winter though, careful thought about new habits is in order. I doubt my writing will be successful without a change. I expect it will be better.

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