The last few months I’ve gotten into a writing rhythm that has really been working for me. I’ve been doing a blog post every day during the week, and weekends have been devoted to my new book. When I decided to get serious about the blog and to write on a regular basis, it was really to bring this little blog back to life. It never occurred to me that the discipline of taking care of the blog would bleed over into my creative work and prove a boon to that, but it has. Because I’ve written something of my own every day during the week, I find on weekends when it’s time to get back to the book, it’s much easier to pick up the thread. So, steady progress has been made, and although I have no social life, I’ve really been terrifically happy about it all.
And so it was something of a surprise how off-kilter I was all last week. LA was great, and I was thrilled to see my pretend children — I didn’t get a chance to blog about it, but the twins third birthday was an all-day affair involving much chirping of “It’s my BIRTH-day!” out of both of them. Three is such a fun age — and although infant twins are something of a logistical nightmare — they’re so funny now that they can talk to and play with one another. Their conversations alone are worth the price of admission — very very funny.
But it got me off my schedule. And then my internet connection was screwy all last week — I had no connectivity at all at home from Tuesday until late Thursday and it really threw me. I had to go out there in the mornings — out to the coffee shop where there are other people, where I had to get dressed in real clothes and where I ran into people I knew. It wasn’t a bad thing, but it did throw me off my game.
And so this weekend was lovely. My internet was back. I had my precious two days of silence, and puttering around the house, and descending into my basement office to pull up the book I’m working on. I did laundry and shopped for groceries and lo! my book had not actually turned into a pile of drek while I was away from it — nor had it gone entirely feral, snarling in the corner of my office where I’d neglected it. I finished a chapter. I started a new one. I read On Chesil Beach. I did laundry (the washer/dryer is in the basement, and I’m afraid I’ve become a little pavlovian in my love for the white noise of the laundry while I’m writing.) I even managed to outline a few topics for blogging this week.
My routine has been restored and it feels like my world is back on kilter. (Michael Ruhlman writes about the importance of a writer’s routine in his memoir House — it’s a terrific story about the importance of a home to a family and to creative work.) I know writers, like my friend Nina in LA, who can get work done among the chaos of family life — but I have never been able to do that. It takes me a lot of silence to be able to hear what’s going on inside my own head again — walking with the dogs helps, as does knowing that on the weekend I have two whole days stretched out before me where I’m not beholden to anyone else’s needs — like I said, I have no social life at the moment. But it’s winter in Livingston, a time when the wind howls, when darkness falls early, and when all the writers in town retreat to their offices and try to make up for the time we wasted playing outside during our short summer.