Sunday, 1 May 2011

Writing Routines

The Easter holiday is winding up;  just the May Day bank holiday left to enjoy.  I've done nowhere near as much writing as I hoped,  but then this has happened to me during school holidays before.  When I'm not at work, the children aren't out at school or pre-school, either. 

We've had a lovely break. Sometimes there is something very bleak about the shackles of routine. Most days I hate having to make the six-year old's packed lunch the evening before she needs it.  (In September, I will have to do the four-year old's too.  My heart is sinking already). There is something wearing about getting up at the same time every day, and spending the next hour and a half chivvying the children, encouraging them to get on independently, unpacking the dishwasher and all the other menial and repetitive tasks that seem so joyless and thankless.  (I'm trying to value these tasks a bit more, and think how they bless my little family.  I don't want to waste my life looking forward - I want to enjoy what I have now). Best of all, when it comes to holidays, I don't think I've said, 'Come on! We're late!' once in the past fortnight. 

I think it's true that we can determine much of our own happiness by our outlook, though, so I'm finding things that are positive about the end of the holidays.  Slipping back into the harness of routine will give back certain things I've missed: regular, well-planned meals, for a start, with a bit less of the junk and a bit more of the vegetable in them.  I've missed walking the children to school and back twice a day (you'd be amazed how much healthier and fitter I feel during termtime, just for that).  I'll get back those precious extra writing times when I can synchronise the two-year old's naps with the older two's times out of the house.  

For all the things I hate about constraints of routine, I do value it, too.  The break has been wonderful.  It was just what I needed, right then.  It's been great for us as a family.  But I'm ready for it to conclude.  And the conclusion I've come to is that I need to be stricter with myself about writing routines.  Two or three times carved out of my week isn't enough; it needs to be a daily thing, even if it's only for ten minutes.  Maybe within the chrysalis of a daily writing routine, there will be time for a miracle of creation to occur, even if what emerges is wet-winged and grounded in the beginning.

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