Like the rest of the world, my normal routine was completely upended in March 2020. Before the pandemic, I’d be commuting to and from work on various forms of transportation totaling over two hours a day. I used that time in the morning to write/edit my work in progress and then read on the way home, uninterrupted because my phone signal was usually non-existent. Suddenly, in the new COVID world, I found myself working from home without a commute. I should have been overjoyed, right? But somehow, as the months drug on, my routine started shifting more and more away from my normal routine.
Since I was home, I realized I was able to do different types of things outside of my normal, daily routine. I was no longer ‘stuck‘ on a moving vehicle. Instead of occasionally exercising after work, every morning I started to wake up early and workout before logging on for the day. I was honestly worried (not going to lie, still a bit scared about this) that since I was walking around less and staying home, I was going to gain a ton of weight, so I became obsessed with working out. I kept promising myself that after work I’d get back to my writing. I wish I could go back to spring-2020 Diane and tell her that was a stupid idea. After a long day at work, what part of me would want to stay on a computer and draw an ounce of strength to be creative? Plus, the fine line between work and home was becoming blurred. I’d glance at the clock, and I’d realize it was already past time to make dinner.
I didn’t give up writing completely; I’d find time to do it on the weekends since we weren’t going anywhere, but I’d also stress out if I didn’t do it each weekend. I felt like I was giving up on my dream, so I had to at least apportion time on the weekend to writing or otherwise consider it a personal failure.
I’m not sure what hit me, but I realized I needed to make a change. My “new” routine wasn’t working for me anymore; I missed writing. Before the pandemic, every morning I woke up excited to work on my book, but that just wasn’t happening any more. Don’t get me wrong, I value exercising, but waking up at 5:50 a.m. to go run just doesn’t make me want to get out of bed the same way writing does.
Last week I tried something different. I still got up at 5:50 a.m., but I worked on my book in place of exercising; and you know what, I was in a better mood throughout the day, which shouldn’t have been such a shock for me. Of course starting the day with something that I love would make me happier. I also tried to make an effort to exercise after work so I wouldn’t completely lose that aspect of my life. I even started setting aside specific time for it on my work calendar to give myself extra motivation to sign off. I think the problem before was I didn’t have anything planned since all social engagements have been canceled, so I had no reason to sign off. Now that I have “plans,” which are as simple as going for a run or taking a walk with my husband, it’s a good reason to disconnect for the day.
I don’t know how this new routine will work out, but I think it’s important that I recognized there was something wrong, and tried to fix it. I don’t want to lose sight of my dream of having my novel published, and I hope this simple fix will really help me along the path to achieving this goal. And, if you have something that makes you happy, why not start the day with it? Maybe it will make Mondays more bearable? Here’s hoping!