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Force of Habit

15 March 2013

Last night, my wife and I headed out to try a new restaurant/sports bar that’s about a three-minute walk from our house (but it’s across a busy street, so we drove). As we drove out of our neighborhood, I turned right even though the restaurant was to the left, mainly because I turn right at that intersection every day on my way to the office.

I chose that example because it was recent, but if you follow me around for a couple of hours, you’ll find plenty of examples. I’m very much a creature of habit. I take my lunch break at the same time every day. I stack the dishes in the exact same order every time I put them away. I leave home at 6:30 every morning, and when there are no late meetings, I leave work at 4:00 every afternoon. I like habit, and I like routine. It’s probably why I was a smoker for so long — perfect marriage of habit and routine. Also, I was addicted to nicotine.

The only place I don’t like routines is in my writing. I used to write in the same voice, the same style, in the same genre, and through pretty much the same character.


Nowadays, I’ll tackle any genre I feel like. My main characters can be deeply flawed, or they can have Superman levels of Boy-Scoutitide. I might tell a story in omniscient third, or first-person, or both. People say there are rules to writing, but I disagree. The only rules are the ones we impose on ourselves. It’s not like coding, where you have to do it in a specific way or it won’t work.

Do it whatever way you want.

Make it work.

Just don’t put the dishes into the dishwasher incorrectly. That causes me some low-level anxiety.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 15 March 2013 1055

    I’m with ya on the dishwasher thing, and I’m lucky to share my life with the woman I do because most of our organizational tics jibe very well together.

    With writing, i write what I want to write. I pal around with genre-lovin’ people, even though what I write tends to be more mainstream. And I don’t see changing that any more than never just writing whatever strikes my fancy at the time I sit down to write. I can see a certain pattern in what I do…enough that it’s not so random people will never know me and my writing. But…I’ve always jumped around and always will.

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