Fiction writers need to be good at complicating conflict; we need to find the frailties in our characters and exploit them. We need to make huge messes, in heads or landscapes or due to disagreements. Conversely, we need to keep a good amount of peace in our own lives in order to find the time and space to feed creative chaos.
With routine comes the continuity necessary to raise hell on the page (raising hell being the goal here). But life doesn't always lend itself to routine. Case in point: my life right now. I am a program director at a literary nonprofit, a freelance writer, and a freelance writing teacher and coach. My work schedule is busy and less-than-predictable.
So how to force routine? This has been my project over the last few weeks. After waking up at 5:30AM, then 5AM, then 4:30AM to try to force it; I tried nights. I tried. I failed.
So instead, here's my Midwestern workaround: accepting the chaos and working despite it. If you're making a casserole, for inst…