Return to Routine

There is something about “back to school” time that gets people back into a frame of mind of getting things done that aren’t yard work/fixup type of tasks. Even those who don’t have kids in school–either theirs are past that, not there yet, or they don’t have any (or just have the four-legged kind)–seem to drift back into a regular routine way of thinking once the yellow school buses hit the road come August.

That is definitely true for writers, particularly those with kids. Dean Wesley Smith calls summer the “time of great forgetting” for writers–as in, they forget all those goals and great plans, and he has very few people signing up for workshops, fewer emailing or asking questions on his blog, etc. Having the kids home from school definitely slowed my accountability buddy. Easy to understand, as she’s a stay-home mom and her kids are young enough to need the extra attention. Mine is in college, so that wasn’t as much an issue for me (especially since she seemed to spend most of her time at friends’), and I managed to ramp up overall output (though not to what I’d like yet), and took a couple workshops too.

But we took the daughter back to college yesterday, and even I feel that sense of needing to get into a more solid routine. DH and I want to do more meal planning, something we’ve been really bad at lately, resulting in a lot of conversations like this:

Him: You hungry?

Me: A little. You?

Him: Yeah. Anything sound good to you?

Me: I can’t really think of anything. What about you?

Him: I don’t know.

Me: Well, what do we have? All I can think of is a bunch of frozen stuff.

Him: Yeah, me too. So what sounds good?

Me: I don’t know. Anything sound good to you?

Isis after bathSo we end up going out to eat far too often. That needs to stop.

The house already seems quieter with the daughter gone, even though she spent a lot of time away at friends’ places over the summer. I will admit I don’t miss her clutter, though. DH and I have enough of our own.

We kicked off the new routine by giving Isis a bath. She didn’t like that too much. No photos, because I was busy holding her while he hosed her down and washed, but she seemed none the worse afterward. 🙂

ForbiddenWhat I read this week: Forbidden, by Zoe Winters. This is the latest in her Preternaturals paranormal romance series, one I’ve enjoyed for a long time. Ms. Winters is excellent at pulling together couples who have tons of conflict between them–in this case, a vampire priest and an angel who was the vampire who turned him. Though I’m not yet finished with it, as expected, this book does not disappoint!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: I spent the earlier half of the week reading Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat and planning what scenes I need to add in to my WIP. It’s a book on screenwriting, but 90% of it applies to commercial fiction as well. Lots of good stuff there and already useful. My other goal was to get one of my new scenes written and I did, though it was a short one. Still a win! This week, I want to continue with the new scenes, and am shooting for two.

What about you–whether or not you have kids, do you feel ready to settle back into a routine once school’s back in session? Do you plan for dinner, or do you have conversations like me and my husband? Read any good books lately? And whether or not you’re participating in ROW80, how are you doing with whatever goals you may be working on? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.


9 Responses to \

  1. I definitely feel like it’s time to hunker down again, too, even though I have no kids and I have been pretty productive this summer. But right now, I’m gearing up for my cruise to Alaska so the next 2 weeks are going to be like torture keeping my butt in this chair. I have some great story ideas, but I’m too lazy to put them on the page so they just keep spinning around in my head.

    When we get back, my goal is to knock this current WIP out of the ball park and get serious about editing the one I finished last year. No excuses.

    Have a great week!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  2. Back to school marks the beginning of fall and cooler weather. Time to put the garden to bed so I can stop feeling guilty everytime I work in it… or don’t as I watch the weeds grow. Since hubby is retired and we have no kiddos at home, every day is much the same, except for that garden time. LOL.

  3. Weekends disrupt my routine! Haha! But right now getting ready for Dragon*Con, and then attending Dragon*Con, is all that is on my mind. There will not be any routine until I return. Not even for exercise (of which I’m sure to regret).

  4. I don’t have kids, so the return to school doesn’t usually affect me too much, but this semester my husband is starting grad school. I’m sure our evening and weekend routine will shift to accommodate all the studying and classwork he’ll be doing.

    We do meal planning every week. The problem we have is sticking to the plan we’ve created. I have to make sure to include a few super-easy meals for those nights we don’t feel like cooking–otherwise we veer from the plan and end up with takeout.

  5. Patricia, it’s hard to be productive when a vacation is looming – especially a great one like an Alaskan cruise! Have fun and buckle down when you get back.

    Catherine, I can imagine not gardening will free up a lot of time! But then what will you do to relieve stress? 🙂

    Stacy, see my note to Patricia! And I hear ya on exercise. Despite all good intentions, it never seems to get done away from home. 🙂

    Denise, your meal planning sounds like a winner – especially about keeping some easy ones in there, for that reason!

  6. I’m planning to bathe Mr. Puppy (a full-grown German Shepherd) tomorrow. It’s going to be interesting.
    I always plan more than I can accomplish, but so far this round, I feel pretty good about what I’ve gotten done.
    I did really well for a while with meal prep (though I rarely plan very far in advance). Now, however, I’ve slipped back into my old habits: eating out, ordering in, going for simple and quick with what we have on hand. I definitely need to get back on track in this area.
    All the best with the rest of the week.

  7. We start back to school today, and I’m very much looking forward to it. I’ve tried to stick to routine this summer, but it’s difficult to really focus with the kids(7 & almost 4). They tend to play independently though, so as long as they aren’t killing each other(and yes, sometimes it felt like that), I could get some stuff done. Plus naptime. 🙂

    And yes, we’ve had a lot of conversations like that in our house. Last Spring I was planning out our dinners. I got lazy about it over the summer. Planning on starting it back up for next month though. It not only makes dinner easier, but also grocery shopping.