In Praise of Routine

When you work in the bowels of the demented bureaucracy, often the first and only thing you want to do when you get home is zone out in front of the television with a glass of wine, never mind that it doesn’t do much to alleviate stress or allow you to make progress on things that matter more than serving the dreadful lords of red tape. After being quite unsuccessful in getting myself to the point where I would exercise for an hour or two, three or four times a week, both as a way to bleed off the idiocy of the working day and maintain my health, I figured that perhaps by adopting a daily routine of less intense, shorter periods of exercise, I might have more success. So far, so good: it’s been almost three weeks and I’ve spent at least thirty minutes on the treadmill after work each day, and on weekend days when I’m not hiking or playing golf. Doesn’t sound like much does it? Well, it’s the first time  since my younger army days that I’m consistently exercising every single day, and that’s quite an achievement for me. The secret to this current success is, of course, routine: come home, feed the dogs, work on a novel, get on the treadmill, make/eat supper, then flake out in front of the television or with a book. It helps, of course, that while I walk in place on the infernal machine, I can watch a good British detective show on Netflix. An unexpected side effect of establishing this new routine has been a more consistent output with my writing. Where I would often go for days between bouts of creativity, I’m now writing every day, even if it’s just a few paragraphs. As a result, I’ve reached the two-thirds mark on the first draft of Cold Comfort (Decker’s War – Book 2) and I’m about twenty percent done with the first draft of the third Dunmoore adventure. So let’s hear it for boring routine – it can make life better.

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