Oh, November! It’s such a wonderful but horrifically busy month. No normal routine will suffice. To navigate November, we need powerful habits!
Of course, there’s NaNoWriMo and the holidays. On top of that, there’s the daylight savings time change, which makes everyone disoriented, like when you’re at a new school but accidentally enter the wrong classroom… Wait, what?
And on the tip-top of that, the weather’s been wet, wet, wet and cold, so I want to huddle up like a bear set for hibernation, except with copious amounts of hot tea and books.
Honestly, if I didn’t have some powerful habits in place, I’d either a.) curl up in despair, b.) get in the car and keep driving ’til I got somewhere sunny, or c.) be totally “in the moment” — as in, forget I have a job, appointments, a grocery list, etc — just, like, go with the flow, man, and think about existence and the great mystery of it all…
Thank God for habits. What I resisted for many years turned out to be just what I needed! A daily routine to give my life structure while allowing me freedom to experiment and be creative within that framework. Until I set up some strong habits, I spun my wheels in my fiction, too.
What habits? Here are the three that made the biggest impact in my writing life:
1.) Waking up early
I know, no one likes to make eye contact with this habit, it’s just too scary. But, listen, if I can do it, I know you can. Before getting on board with a morning habit, my natural wake-up time was eleven a.m. As in, if I didn’t set the alarm, I wouldn’t wake up ’til almost noon. And I was tired aaaallll the time! Now, I only get really tired at night. Guess what? That means I sleep better, too. More quality sleep = better brain for writing. Give it a chance. Commit to one month of early mornings.
2.) Saying “No.”
One more episode of tv? No.
Clubs, even clubs for a really great cause? Not this year.
Running errands just to be busy, not because they actually *need* to be done? No.
Try it, once you start carving out time for your project, you’ll find it easier and easier to say this most offensive word: NO! (But just so I don’t sound too much like a toddler on a power trip, I also add, “Thank you!”) 🙂
3.) Meal Planning
A shift-working spouse made this a necessity, but now that I’m making some nutritional changes to my own diet, it’s even more vital! I don’t ever have to play the “What’s for Dinner?” game, or waste time digging in the fridge or running through the drive-thru. (Yes, even the drive-thru can be a waste of time when there are delicious leftovers at home!) It also makes it super easy to whip up a breakfast smoothie, juice, or golden milk, and packing my lunch everyday is a snap. I save so much time and prevent so many junk food side-effects that zap my energy and focus. You’ll find you’re eating your favorite foods and spending less time in the car.
If November (and the holiday countdown) is kicking your can this year, try implementing just one of these power habits. Don’t try to do all three all at once and burn out. Instead, give yourself the gift of a routine that allows you more writing time. You deserve it!
NOW YOU: Do you have routines in place that save your sanity during this time of year? Share them in the comments!