And why I'm okay with it, even when I worry.
I've always been a get-dressed-first kind of person, but it's solely so I can get out the door and go on my 1.5 hour dog walk. Once that's done, let the writing commence!
Some days I write, some days I don't. Some days I edit what I write, some days I don't. Nothing's typical any more.
I don't miss my days of multiple reviews due every week for various newspapers or writing a book under contract. I think the freedom is why I've written and published 50+ essays and short stories in the last two years (and one month).
I do like coffee by my side, though, whether a Tassimo single, brewed Gevalia or a German or Dutch instant.
Fortunately, I write for fun.
Usually I’m a late night writer. I stew over ideas during the day, letting them marinate., then pound away past midnight. The exception is vacation time when writing time is variable. But I’m thinking all the time. Loved your post!
LOVE. THIS. I can relate to the sit at the computer in your nightclothes sometimes (I usually get dressed by 10 a.m., but not always). Of course, I've never had a "paid" writing job (while I do sell some books, I have to spend money on marketing--gag---and try to break even. I've also been known to sometimes gift a book to a friend. I think my series books in particulars have a loyal following, which is cool. But what I love BEST is that you start your day exactly as I do ... have to do WORDLE before anything else!! Keep writing. We love to read your thoughts.
These days there's no real routine for me (full-time job, father to a three-year-old). Which can be frustrating at times, but there's only so much time in the day, and only so much energy. Last night I tried writing after I put my kiddo to bed and I just didn't have it in me. So I did my best to accept that, submit gracefully, and catch some zzz's instead.
For the day that a routine is more feasible... I've always felt better, and produced higher quality work, first thing in the morning, definitely with coffee, and most likely while wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants.
Ramona, I have to tell you: I stay in my ridiculously casual clothes all day (until I have to go to my gym), and my routine is like this: I listen to the news while I'm brewing coffee, then I sit down to read Heather Cox Richardson's piece, and then I write for 2 or 2.5 hours. Every day, this works like a charm.
I'm sure dressing up is a "must have" for some folks to do serious work, but it is decidedly not for me!
The joy of doing something you love in bra-free abandon! Tis the best.
Hi Ramona, love this post and all the responses. Just this week I have been freed from 6 weeks in a contraption on my right arm and hand, dominant side attached following shoulder surgery. A most frustrating time of wanting to put those ideas I had down on paper, write brilliantly for hours and post here on Sub. I did manage to reply to a few Subs using my lefty.
As to when or if I get dressed….sometimes . Really….have you tried pulling on your jeans with a monstrous sling on and not supposed to use you hand either?
Very good to be back at my desk and typing right handed!
Ramona, have another query perhaps you or others here have opinion…..NOTES!
I assumed that Substack notes on each of our sites was for us, personally to put forth ideas or questions to our subscribers….. nope, that’s not it….
So why or how use it…or not? And what about chat?
During the pandemic, I got up at 530 every day to put in two hours of writing just for me. I would walk out to our barn where I have an office - it’s heated to 60 degrees F., but also has a wood stove if it is especially chilly. My Golden Retriever Molly would come with me. She would make me glad that there are no neighbors in the back of our property because she would always let out with what I called her Morning Bark, running around our pond barking her head off. It always made me smile. Then I would go to my office, give Moly a doggie biscuit, make a cup of coffee and get to work. That routine helped me write a book. Now Molly is gone - hit by a car last year - and I wonder if I stuck to this with such discipline because it gave me a reprieve from the pandemic or if I enjoyed that time with my sweet Molly. I miss her.
Thank you for this, Ramona and well done for doing it in your night clothes. Why not? Fashion isn't mandatory for being a writer but comfort most definitely is.
If there are rules, I fail from the get-go. I don't write every day because every day offers me life 'Outside'. Sometimes I write in bed of a morning till about 10. Mostly I head (dressed) to the couch or the window-seat when I'm ready to write (I have a dinky little portable writing table).
I have no hard and fast rule about the way I work because when it becomes a rule I become anxious and what is an undeniable pleasure (and has been all of my life), will become fraught.
I'm an indie writer, and if that means anything, it means I'm head cook and bottle washer in my own literary food van. Frank Sinatra's I Did It My Way should perhaps be my song of choice. Although my terrier might say otherwise. He claims he is the Head of the Board...
My writing days begins after I have gotten my house chores in order, and checked in with family members, then I am ready to check emails and comments, and work on articles for the day. It's like I have to everything in order - then I am free to write.
Bed making is required. Daytime clothes are not, except that, with full time work still taking up the largest portion of the day, I am sometimes forced to comply with the standard. That said, working for an environmental nonprofit means I can go from night to day attire without much fuss. Come to think of it, I could probably get by in my night shirt as long as the Zoom camera wasn't angled too low (ahem...!).
It sounds like you're settling into a rhythm. Maybe a broken one, but there nonetheless. I'm glad. You're inspiring, and the world can always use more of that.
I love, love, love that you write in your nightie! It's like you just gave us all permission, so thanks for that.
I am, by far, the best in the morning. If I wake up feeling low energy I need to move my body and have a cold shower and drink tea to rev it up. Then I will write. I wear clothes but they are not nice office clothes.