Routine and Comfort Zones

Routine is something that is carried out on a regular basis, usually in the same way. It could be almost habitual. Most of us at one time or another fall into routine. That’s not at all to say that it’s a bad thing. Majority of jobs are 9-5 and you go through the routine of getting ready every morning, working for eight hours and driving home during the rush hour traffic. You get into the routine of enjoying having weekends off but moping on a Sunday night because you’re going back to work the next day. There are many different types of routines in life and many different types of people who practice them.

Routine used to be something I needed, a solid structure and a plan moving forward. Moving into a working world where I work a variety of shifts a week, have different days off every week and have to structure my day according to other people has changed the way I view it. Sure I still love a bit of habitual daytime but I am embracing the change that comes with my job.

And I’m taking it into other aspects of my life. I have never sat and written at a particular time every day. It just wouldn’t be feasible for me. When I started my No Zero days as my new year resolution, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to say, ‘At 9pm everyday I will sit and write.’ Instead, my writing is dictated by my day and I’m okay with that. Changing things up in terms of the times I write as well as the places I write always keeps me on my toes. Sure there are days when it doesn’t work so well and my word count is minimal to say the least, but there are days when I find I’m in a certain place and it just hits me and I’m able to write and write and write.

I think there is also routine in our daily lives in terms of comfort zones. Nobody likes being pushed out of a comfort zone. It leaves you with that horrible, icky, insecure feeling and you constantly worry about whether you’re doing the right thing at the right time at the right place. I used to be a stickler for staying in my boundaries. I hated doing anything out of the ordinary that I wasn’t sure of or didn’t understand. Even in my social life, changing the pub we were meeting at was a big gasp moment for me. Now, working in the field I do, I have grown in confidence because I know I need to be that person. I’m there to support people and they need somebody strong to be that role model. That is what I’ve become. I face challenges outside of my comfort zone on a daily basis and yes I do still get flustered and angry and even scared, but I do it and then you know what, the sense of achievement that I get in that moment is amazing.

Do you have particular routines you follow? Do you prefer to work in a habitual way or do you go with the flow of your day/week? How about your comfort zone, how far is too far?

Working and Writing

I don’t know about you, but I’m not lucky enough to be able to write full time. I don’t expect to be able to write full time either and if I’m honest, I think I would become a major expert at procrastinating should it ever become the case! I work full time in order to support myself and my partner. I am lucky enough to actually really love my job. I am a support worker in a job where I meet new people regularly, work with some of the best colleagues I could ask for and I’m given full autonomy to make my own decisions and get on with my work. No two days are ever the same and I like that. I absolutely love it.

On the other hand, my job does get pretty tiring. I work a shift pattern of earlys, mids and lates. It’s a pattern that just recently came in too so I’m still trying to get used to it but after a full month run through I have to say I quite like it. The problem I’ve found so far is that, through my early shifts I come home still full of energy and raring to write. Which is obviously great.

The mids, I’ve found so far, have been the worst. The shift spans the middle of the day meaning I don’t really have a lot of time before or after work. I come home tired and struggle to write anything at all. The lates give me a little more time in the morning to write but of course it means I need to drag my ass out of bed and make a sustained effort to stay awake and write! (Okay, it’s not that bad considering I’m really a morning person!)

On top of this shift pattern, if you remember I’m going for a no zero day. So far I have succeeded (except one day in January) and I’m proud of myself but at the same time (particularly when I did those mid shifts) I found that I was maybe writing a couple of hundred words, if that, per day. And that really bums me. When I write I like to sit down and really crank out the word count otherwise I don’t feel like I’ve achieved much. Of course it won’t happen everyday but so far this month, my word count is pretty atrocious compared to January.

I have a lot of short stories on the go with ideas spinning through my mind as well as edits on a novel and I get frustrated when I don’t have time to sit and write (or edit). This weekend I’m off and as well as everything else (housework, DIY, gym, socialising), I hope to get some major writing done.

Do any of you work full time? What is your day job? How do you manage writing and working full time? If you don’t work, do you have any suggestions for us?