Growing a routine like daily writing combines two factors: things we say yes to and things we say no to. Because habit creation is complex, each of us must assess how factors will impact our routine. Some factors that strengthen my writing habit could weaken yours, and vice versa.
My Little Experiment with Monsters
Case in point: I jumped onto the Pokemon Go bandwagon last week, along with a gazillion other people who repeatedly crashed the servers. I'll admit that I let it go a little too far, taking more than one unnecessarily long walk before heading home for the night.
The game was fun, but after rebooting the app unsuccessfully for the fifth time one night, I stopped and asked myself, "How is this impacting other areas in my life, like my writing?"
The Importance of Selectivity for Writers
Let me be clear--I'm not bashing Pokemon or its players. We need rest. We need to unwind. Recouping our energy and creativity is integral to our ability to complete any task, especially generative ones like writing. So if Pokemon Go or Netflix or some other mainstream diversion restores you, do those things!
Still, activities can cut both ways. The Netflix binge that gives one person the rest they need to get back to work can have the opposite effect on someone else, pushing them even further from productivity. Some of us have trouble shutting Netflix off.
In my case, Pokemon Go was a little too distracting. Several of my friends are playing, and they have the discipline to set aside a reasonable slot of time each day. They play for that amount of time and then stop. I'm not that kind of person, at least not with Pokemon. I found myself walking to the store, sitting at dinner—or worst of all—driving sown the road, and thinking, "Wonder if there are any Pokemon around here?"
When something occupies our mind outside of the time and space we've granted it, we're losing control of that thing. Committed writers must control their mind space. Our brains are like fertile ground for the ideas that fill our writing. The preoccupations are like weeds; they choke out the creative ideas until it’s extremely difficult to write at all.
Be Mindful about What You Choose
Writers, let’s honestly assess what’s building our writing routine and what’s limiting it. Each of us will come to a unique set of conclusions. I had to delete Pokemon Go—that was best for my routine. For you, it could be the opposite. Maybe catching them all will restore you and fuel your creativity. The crucial thing is to make these choices deliberately. Be aware of influence: say yes to what brings out the best in you.