my writing routine

This is not my desk.

This is not my desk.

I don’t do this every morning. But some mornings, if the kids slept all night, and a hacking cough didn’t keep me tossing and turning, and nyquill hasn’t made me dead to the world -- if I went to bed at a decent hour, like an adult, some mornings, I get up at 5:30.

Illuminating the floor with my phone, I find a hoodie and pull it on while I slip into the dark kitchen. I flip on the electric kettle, scoop grounds into the 10 oz french press. While the water boils, and then while the coffee steeps, I delete junk email that accumulated overnight, and sometimes check my twitter favorites list. I know, I should use those six minutes to pray, but this is me just telling you what I actually do. Maybe someday I’ll get some candles, like Kelley does, and light them with prayer as I begin, but for now I check twitter, and maybe my remembrance of those girls who’ve been kidnapped, of my friend who’s watching sparrows fall, is something like a prayer.

I stir raw sugar into the black coffee and avoid the creaky spots as I pad down the hallway to my office. Once I’m there, the phone is off limits, as is every website except google drive. Sometimes I edit.  Sometimes I write new things. Sometimes I do the brain dump of morning pages. Sometimes I just open the book that’s sprawled haphazardly on the shelf, the one that inspired mine, and read a few pages, taking notes.  How much descriptive detail, how much plot? How much interpretation and internal monologue? Is the voice sure or questioning? Is it present wisdom looking back on past naivete, or is it the voice of her youth?

By six forty-five my stomach rumbles, and I reach for the kashi crunchy granola bars I keep stashed behind the computer. I still have forty-five minutes to go: Jack will get the kids their cereal and their morning dose of Nick Jr. Sometimes I want to stop now, but I don’t.  I force a few more sentences out. Sometimes I never want to stop because I’m in that world again, and I miss it, and I want to live there. Sometimes I re-read what I’ve written and find it all so dreadfully boring, the words dull and clunky broken down jalopies, unable to transport us very far at all.

But I keep writing. What other option is there?