Wednesday, August 5, 2015

#IWSG: Getting into a Routine | Wattpad Wednesday: Reborn Chapter 30 | An Awesome Giveaway

IWSG was created by the Captain Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh. To visit the IWSG participants, please click here.
I haven't been a person who enjoys exercising. Sure, I was forced to take gym and actually did love playing soccer for nine years while in school, but otherwise, I've led a pretty sedentary lifestyle. But having been diagnosed with mild carpal tunnel, tendinitis, and chronic myofascial pain syndrome has made me realize if I didn't start moving now, I may not be able to move years down the road. This realization scared me. On May 24, 2015, I decided to start exercising, but I had to lay down some ground rules first.

1. Exercise is about movement, not weight loss.
Every time in the past I exercised to lose weight, I got frustrated when the pounds weren't melting off. For me, I can't focus on weight loss but being more active.
2. Start slow and ease myself into exercise.
In the past, I started out walking a mile or riding the stationary bike three miles. It was too much for me. I would get sick or injured. This time, I told myself I would start with 5-10 minutes of exercise a day and slowly increase it by month. I did 5-10 minutes through the end of June and then upped it to 10-15 minutes in July. August has me at 15-20 minutes. I've also been focusing mainly on strength and flexibility (yoga, tai chi, and light free weights) and am slowly adding cardio (a ballet conditioning DVD).
3. Have a reasonable top goal.
My top goal is to exercise at least thirty minutes every single day, which I should achieve in November.

There are days I don't want to exercise. Days I hurt and feel like my ankle or back will snap into two. Days I wish I was still in bed instead of getting up early to exercise. But I know the first day I don't exercise, I will quit. Knowing that has kept me going.

So what does that have to do with writing?

Well, I haven't written much or steadily for a LONG time. So I applied what I did for exercise to writing with a few ground rules.

1. Writing is about time length, not how many words I get.
Some days the words come easily. Others, not so much. So I decided not to set word count goals but how much time I spent writing. In July, it was 10-15 minutes on a main project and 5-7 on a secondary project. I upped it to 15-20 minutes main project and 7-10 minutes secondary project. I can write longer, but I have to write at least the minimum every day.
2. Stop writing when I want to keep writing.
Yeah, it sounds really counterproductive. But if I stop when I want to write more, then it'll make it easier to start writing the next day.
3. Have a reasonable top goal.
Ideally, I'd love to spend an hour on a main project and thirty minutes on a secondary project, but with my wrist, I don't know if I'll be able to maintain that much writing, so my reasonable top goal is thirty minutes a main project and fifteen with a secondary project. I should reach this goal by November too.

I don't believe you have to do things every day, of course, but I do believe a routine is very important. You just have to find what works for you and stick with it.

Do you have a writing routine?


Read Reborn from the beginning or Chapter Thirty.

TBMs giveaway 2 
Each month, T.B. Markinson plans to give away awesome books by wonderful authors and a $5 Amazon Gift Card. It’s her way of saying thank you to all her followers and fans. Some may wonder why she is giving books away that aren’t hers. The answer is simple: She loves to read and she loves to help fellow authors promote their books. The giveaway is easy to enter via Rafflecopter. At the end of the month, one winner will be selected randomly and will receive an e-book copy of all the books below plus a $5 Amazon Gift Card. Good luck! Here are the incredible books for August’s Giveaway. My novel Reborn is one of the awesome books in this month's giveaway!

August covers

a Rafflecopter giveaway

35 comments:

Stephanie Faris said...

I've been a full-time freelance writer since 2013 and I STILL don't have a routine! It's 8:23 and I'm still in PJs! I usually get on the treadmill when my husband takes his lunchtime nap because I know he won't be on a call...but that's the hottest point of the day. I should be on that treadmill right now!

Sarah Foster said...

I love that comparison! I try to get to the gym at least 5 days a week but I don't look at my writing in the same way. I think I should try just to do a little writing each day and work from there.

Christine Rains said...

Excellent comparison. I need to apply your routine to my daily life. Focusing on weight loss or word count does get me in trouble too.

Yay for giveaways! :)

Crystal Collier said...

I had somewhat of a routine, until the baby. Struggling to get that back, but persistence over time=success.

Hart Johnson said...

I think the exercise is easiest if it is built in... like not exercise at all, but just what you do. A habit and routine. I used to be so much better with my writing habit... I need to just make it routine again.

emaginette said...

When I'm writing, I write each day. I do the same when I'm revising. What I haven't done is both in the same day. That's a goal I have yet to meet. :-)

Anna from Elements of Writing

TBM said...

I like your attitude about exercising and writing. Not have a fixed goal, except for the time span helps get over many mental hurdles.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Routine is important, especially for those of us who are creatures of habit. Awesome that you are focusing on exercise first. Yes, start now. It's more difficult when you get older to form that habit.

Nancy Gideon said...

It's about persistence no setting a fast pace-both in writing and in exercise.
I feel your pain with arthritis creeping up but we do what we do steadily, consistently - and we get there!

Rachna Chhabria said...

I feel a writing routine is very important to get those crucial words on paper or the computer. I am trying to get a writing routine for myself!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Having goals and realistic ones is very important. Since I now write for a living, I have a goal of a certain number of articles I must write each day. That helps. And I totally am into exercise for mental health.

Catherine Stine said...

All of your thoughts on writing & exercising make perfect sense. I try to do 1/2 hour of dancing/crunches/light weights at least 5 times a week. It helps my energy level for writing and limbers me up for the sitting in chair writing stints. It's a fine balance.

Julie Flanders said...

What a great comparison. It's funny, I do like to follow a routine with exercising because like you it's not my favorite thing to do, but I never thought about applying that same concept to writing. I need to set up my own writing ground rules to follow for the rest of this year and maybe I will actually accomplish something.

Liz Blocker said...

I love your ground rules for exercise. LOVE them. I'm a massage therapist, and I give advice like this to my clients ALL. THE. TIME. Exercise will only work if you have reasonable goals, ease into it, and keep at it. Seriously, good for you.

I also love how you've reframed them for writing. It's sound advice, and I need to take it!

Jennifer Hawes said...

I always stop writing at the good parts! It seriously works. I'm so pumped to come back the next day and write. As far as daily word counts go, I hate them. I never keep track of the number of words I write. I always write scene by scene or one chapter at a time!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I tend to let my writing slide to the end of the day, which is not my most productive time.

Don't worry about the weight. I discovered that women lose inches long before they lose weight. (Guys seem to be the opposite. Darn them.)

DMS said...

I have been trying to exercise more too. This morning I could not get out of bed (I had to be somewhere 30 minutes earlier than usual and couldn't get up any earlier). Then, my whole day is work- and I have to be somewhere after work until 10. So... I already told myself tomorrow I will have to do the treadmill and something else (maybe swim).

I don't have a writing routine, but I like the idea of applying the exercise rules to writing. I still need to write today too- but I may be able to do that at if I don't fall asleep.

Good luck with your writing and exercising. :)
~Jess

Chemist Ken said...

Yep, the trick is to have a routine, even if you don't always get as much accomplished as you hoped. If I can write something every day, it just gets that much easier.

I should be exercising more too. :(

Olga Godim said...

Great post. I know routine is important, but sorry, I don't have one. I just don't have anything else to do. Every morning, after breakfast, I sit down at my computer, and there is always - I mean always - something to write. A blog post. And article for my newspaper. A revision for an old story. For a long time, for years really, new stories seemed hard to come by. I thought I was dry, my supply of stories exhausted, but I still sat down at my computer every day. Then, a year ago, the situation changed, and new stories poured out of me, and they still do. I can't keep up; I'm not fast enough as a writer.
Just keep at it - that's the only routine I know.

M Pax said...

I found with exercise that working with myself instead of against myself works. I pick a time of day when I'm bored and need a break. I decided shorter workouts more often were better and work better (I often feel overwhelmed and behind schedule).

I write the same way. Work with myself, writing when my brain is ready to go. With that said, I've struggled some today.

Jenni Enzor said...

This is great advice. I had to start exercising due to back pain, and I really love the Leslie Sansome walking DVDs, mainly because I can just do 15 minutes on busy days. I hadn't thought of applying setting small goals to writing as well. I also get hung up on word counts, instead of counting my time working.
And I liked what you said about stopping when you want to keep going. I will try that!

alexia said...

Cherie, first let me say thank you for posting your review of Mojitos!! I'm so glad you liked it. Your review is HUGELY appreciated.

As for exercising, I am totally the same way. I've always been pretty bad about it, but a few years ago I realized I had to get it together. My neck would cramp up a lot from long hours at my office job, plus writing in my free time and I'd get bad headaches for like two days. So, yoga really helps with that. I also like pilates and walking/hiking. I have been bad lately, but need to get back on a schedule like yours. You are SO right, setting manageable daily goals is the way to go. For writing too! I am not on a particular schedule now, but I need to once I start drafting the second full length Zyan Star book (which will be next month).

Sandra Cox said...

Sorry you're having health issues:( You know when my wrists are bothering me, I wear tennis wrist bands. They're inexpensive and add just enough pressure to support my wrists.

I like the goals you've set. I do the same thing. Start low and work up.

On bad writing days. I'll do ten minutes writing. Ten minutes off. Then ten minutes writing again. I figure I can handle ten minutes a pop:)

Cathy Keaton said...

I've never heard of ballet conditioning before. I'm so curious I might go check it out. Sounds really cool!

The funny thing for me about my writing routine is that I do much better if I don't time myself and just focus on aiming for a certain word count. It's the opposite of what works for you, but it goes to show that every writer's routine has to be tailor-made for them because no one size routine fits all. I used to use a stop-watch when I was training myself to write straight through a session without stopping to go back and edit a million times (horrible habit of bygone days), but I don't need the stop-watch anymore now that I've overcome that problem. So, the word count approach is best for me.

I still only write a little bit every day just to chip away at my story. I find setting the goal very low every day makes it harder for me to excuse away doing it. I might want to try not writing as much as I want to and see if that makes it easier for me to want to write the next day. Sounds like a clever idea! :)

Misha Gericke said...

I think your approach to exercise and writing sounds sensible. :-)

Patricia Lynne said...

Number 2 in your writing list I've found helpful too. If I know the next scene when I stop, I can get writing easier the next day.

Loni Townsend said...

I like the comparison. It's like saying to make writing a lifestyle, not just a task. Good way of thinking of it!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I exercise two days and then take one day off. It works best for my joints to have the day of rest. For my writing, I try to write at least thirty minutes per day but some days I do as much as three hours. I love how you've made yourself stick to your routine. Good on you.

Emilyann Girdner said...

Sounds like some awesome routines Cherie :) I do solidly exercise twice a week minimum, but as others have said I don't have a weekly writing schedule like that. May be worth doing. Keep uo the awesome, lady. You inspire us all.

Stephanie Leland said...

I wish I could say I have a routine. Can I steal yours? :-)

Medeia Sharif said...

I'll have pages or word counts in mind most of the time. If it's a difficult project, I'll ease up on myself, so I do make modifications.

Awesome giveaway.

Carol Riggs said...

Great! I hope you're doing well at these changes. I always have that philosophy about exercising--if I must do it (and I must, so I'm not a screen slug) then I'm gonna start out gradually, get into the routine, and then build up time and complexity, etc. Best wishes!!!

Jay Noel said...

You've got the right approach. Just keep moving and getting stronger!

No routine at all. In fact, my writing has been nonexistent all year. So from that perspective, I haven't been very productive.

I think I have a hard time stopping when I want to keep writing. I've heard that same piece of advice from others, and it makes perfect sense.

cleemckenzie said...

I did have one, but I'm reassessing this summer and reorganizing, so my routine has disappeared. I'll come up with something that works by fall. . .maybe.

Sandra Cox said...

Just stopped by to say hey, Cherie. Hope you're having a great evening.