I’m one for rituals and processes. It helps me get things done and while I like change and spontaneity as much as the next person, repetitive behaviours (especially fun ones) are particularly useful for making progress on things.
I have a writing project I’m particularly enjoying at the moment, partly because my ritual is to go to a local cafe/bar near here when they open at 5pm, grab a table near the window at the back which lets in the afternoon sun, buy a medium glass of Malbec (175ml), and type until my wine is finished, usually about an hour and a half later.
I’ve been doing it for a couple of weeks now, and although I’m a reasonably recent addition to the bar staff’s own experience of regularity, I was asked today how the writing was going, and did I want my usual?
And in fact, the writing’s going rather well. Had something of a breakthrough today, actually. I continued tapping away at it when I got home and have carried on doing so long into the evening. What had been intended to be between 60 and 90 minutes of progress has now been five and a half hours of chipping away, getting it just right. Reordering, adding paragraphs, deleting sentences, reading back and moving forward.
I’m sure there was a whole bunch of other stuff I was going to do this evening – but given how sticky this new writing project seems to be, I’m making the most of this early bout of enthusiasm and indulging it to whatever extent it will tolerate. As a result, ten thousand words that didn’t exist last week exist this week. All of them are subject to change – but they’re a start.
Though my evening has completely vanished.