Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

No Detour

59 Comments

Photo courtesy of freeditigalphotos.net

Photo courtesy of freeditigalphotos.net

It’s a hard thing to leave any deeply routine life, even if you hate it.” ~ John Steinbeck

I thrive on routine, give me a sequence of actions to follow regularly and I’ll do it without fail. While some may refer to their daily routine as mundane, I love it. It’s when my routine is disrupted I become cranky and irritable. Last year, my job required me to work 12-hour days for a 10-day stretch. The overtime and the work were great, but I was miserable. My routine turned upside down.

I never deviate from my schedule, unless forced. I’m up at the same time every day, even on the weekend. Breakfast is always the same. During the week, I leave for work at the exact same time. Traffic doesn’t disrupt my routine because I leave early in the morning which ensures I’m at my desk at the same time every day. I’m a creature of habit.

I believe my routine helps me manage my energy more effectively, but there are arguments against having a routine. Some say they make your life boring or keep us from seeing new opportunity. Another article I read said routine promotes laziness. One that struck a chord was routine can limit creativity. It made me question if my obsessiveness for routine is having an impact on my writing.

When I thought about my writing, I realized, I have no routine. I do write every day, however not at a set time. I’m not sitting at a desk at a certain time forcing my creativity to come alive. I write when I can and where I can. I don’t worry that it’s not part of my routine because stories always fill my mind, I let them set the schedule.

Do you like routine or do you fly by the seat of your pants?

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Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. My first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, published by Harlequin Love Inspired released on February 21, 2017 and is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010 and 2012 winner of the NaNoWriMo Contest. I love to connect readers, visit me at jillweatherholt.com

59 thoughts on “No Detour

  1. I kid myself that I like ‘seat of the pants’ but a bit of routine keeps me out of trouble.
    Terry

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  2. When looking after young children and/or a lot of animals I found having a daily routine was comforting and saved a lot of time (and arguments, where the children were concerned.) At this stage of my life, however, I would hate to make the same journey at the same time every day or eat the same food every day. There are lots of tasks I need to do daily but, apart from feeding the dog, the time and order of accomplishing them changes.

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  3. Hello my dear Jill! We are alike in SO many ways – except for the love of football thing and routines!

    I am probably the most ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ gal around. There is never a day that is like the previous day. Every minute is different, never knowing what to expect or how I will feel or react to something. I like variety, don’t like to visit the same place twice and don’t do well with expectations or deadlines. I just let the day dictate and my body to lead me to whatever is next. Not always a comfortable feeling I have to admit. I do the same with my writing and my creativity. Like YOU, I write whenever wherever and just let it flow.

    What a great balance you have to be able to get the things done that have to get done in a predictable and organized fashion yet set your creativity free to roam and be without having to plan.

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    • Oh Maria, there was no doubt in my mind that you are a fly by the seat gal. I’m sure there is never a dull moment in your world, but you’re perfect just the way you are! Does your husband fly with you or is he more structured? Enjoy the weekend, Maria and try not to get stuck in any nighties!

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      • My husband LOVES routine!! Every single day, how he gets out of bed, his bathroom routine, dressing, stopping to get caffeine on the way to work etc, etc. I tease him sometimes but all in fun. There are pros and cons to both ways of being. You are pretty perfect yourself! No more nighties for me!

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      • I had a feeling your hubby was a man of routine. They say opposites attract, so you two are the perfect match. BTW, I’m still laughing from your recent post.

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  4. I think routine helps get the mundane stuff out the way so we can concentrate on the creative things that make us fly by the seats of our pants!

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    • Well said, Jenny! That’s exactly how I feel. Have a great weekend!

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      • Good question, Jill. I like routine. I like it too much. It’s true that getting stuck in a rut breeds, if not “laziness,” at least complacency. I’m pretty sure that most of what I’ve learned in life came from having my routines disrupted. Still, I would never give up routines entirely–they make it possible for me to live sanely. Because a total lack of routine feels to me like total chaos.

        Jenny’s would sum up my philosophy perfectly. Thanks for thinking for me, Jenny!

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      • I agree, Tracy, Jenny’s comment was spot on!

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  5. I’ve always been a routine writer. It helps to dedicate a certain time of day, every day, to the craft — a way of creating a short-cut for my mind, I guess. Extraneous things tend to fade into the background more quickly.

    Not that, at other times, I don’t find myself scribbling notes or trying to get something on paper before I can forget them…

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  6. A good friend has a philosophy about Fall. As the leaves change and fall, it’s a prime time for us to Fall Into new routines–winter will freeze us back into place soon enough. You might try loosening up slightly on some routines, like changing what you have for breakfast occasionally, etc. But when it comes to your writing, I recommend this is the place where you should make it a specific routine. There was an article in PSYCHOLOGY TODAY many years ago about making or breaking a habit in 30 consecutive days, and then two writing magazines came out with this suggestion: If only for 20 min. each day, decide the exact time each day you will write for those 20 min. Do it EVERY day without fail for 30 days (no missed days, or the next day becomes Day 1 and you start over). At the end of 30 consecutive days of writing, you’ll be amazed at how your mind clicks in, ready to write, at that time each day.
    It’s worth a try, Jill. This is one detour that might work for you.

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    • I like your friend’s philosophy, Marylin. It might be difficult to understand my need for routine, but I have Crohn’s Disease which often interferes with my daily routine, so when I’m feeling good, it’s nice to have that routine. As for the writing, I’m certainly going to give your 30 day writing suggestion a try. I’ll let you know the outcome. Have a wonderful weekend, Marylin!

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    • Marilyn, I hadn’t realized I’ve been doing this instinctively all my life…. 🙂

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  7. Wow. Jill, it’s so nice to hear someone else is as into their routine as me. Give me a routine and you’ll find a happy Dave. Throw me a curve and break up the day somehow? You’ll get an unhappy Dave. I don’t think being a person who likes routine inhibits creativity at all. Now that you mention it, it’s kind of funny to want a life of predictability while at the same time writing by the seat of your pants. Works for me anyway 🙂

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    • It’s so nice to be understood…thanks, Dave! I’m not a pleasant person to be around when my routine is disrupted. Perhaps that’s why we enjoy writing, it allows us to get out of our routine, but it’s by choice. I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

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      • I felt the same way when I read your blog. I think you’re right about writing and routine … we can change things up by choice rather than have them foisted upon us. I’m not a happy camper then 🙂

        Have a great weekend, Jill!

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  8. I think a routine is necessary to help us stay focused on things that need focusing, but that’s also its negative effect… we lose our sensitivity to what’s going on around us and that can cause us to tread water or continue doing something ineffectively when there’s a better way. So overall, I’d say routine is good, but it also needs to be shaken up every once in awhile! Great post Jill! Hope you have a great weekend.

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    • “We lose our sensitivity to what’s going on around us and that can cause us to tread water.” I like that, Phillip, you’ve definitely given me something to think about. Maybe I’ll shake it up this weekend and have something different for my breakfast. 🙂 You have a great weekend as well!

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  9. Part of me enjoys routine (the merry-go-round) while another part of me craves the unexpected (the roller coaster).

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    • Love your amusement park analogy, Jolyse. Despite the fact that I get dizzy easily, I never tire of the merry-go-round routine. For me, it tells me, all is well. I know you’re counting the days until your Key West trip…enjoy and take lots of pictures!

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  10. Jill, I read that “successful people follow procedures”. Most days of the week I wake up at the same time. On Fridays, I set the clock a bit later and on weekends, that clock is off! In my work life, I follow routines all day long. I’m more laid back when I am home. Now, I wish I can stick to a routine for skincare and vitamins! I even taught our bird to say, “take your vitamins”, but that didn’t help. That bird got lost/stolen and now I’m teaching the new bird the same line. However, new bird is more inclined to saying, “see you later”. 🙂

    I’d really like to get into a set routine for writing. I look forward to your Friday posts- don’t deviate from this routine!

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    • Aww, thank you, Elaine. I feel the same about your posts. I never know when your post will arrive in my e-mail, but it’s always a nice surprise when they do. 🙂

      Like you, I think as long as I’m working full-time, outside the home, I’ll always have a strict routine. I try to sleep in on the weekends, but my internal alarm clock never lets me sleep past 5:30 a.m.

      LOL…”See you later”…I wonder what the new bird is trying to tell you.

      Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Elaine!

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  11. Routine irritates me, Jill, but only because a lot of it is the tedious mundane stuff. I love spontaneity but it’s not always so easy to maintain, even when you’re retired. 🙂

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    • Being the brilliant photographer you are Jo, you must have spontaneity. I understand the difficulty in maintaining the spontaneity, even when you’re retired. My parents have been retired for twenty plus years, but I always know when they’re on the golf course…it’s like clockwork. Have a wonderful Sunday!

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  12. Yes Jill I am so much like you when it comes to following routine and procedures. It works best for me. Anything too much out of the order upsets me. Maybe this is due to my background, my dad being an Army officer, my cousins and neighbors all army officers. From childhood there was a strict discipline and schedule and timings to follow. My hubby an Air Force pilot, and the discipline and routine continued into my married life. It has brought a lot of success to me and to my friends who grew up with me and who had strict rules and routines. I am so used to this that I know no other life. Following a routine does not mean one cannot enjoy life, in fact if we do everything in an orderly manner there is too much we can accomplish and there is ample time to enjoy and do whatever you want to. Same goes for writing for me. Although change in time I do adjust and here and there whenever an idea strikes me I write it down. But there is a particular time in the evening I sit down to write, no problem for me. Great post as always Jill. It brought back memories of my childhood, home work time, play time, TV time, and so on. Take care as I can go on and on. Have a lovely weekend my dear friend.

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    • I’m so happy to hear you’re a creature of routine too, Samina. I was starting to feel outnumbered. 🙂 I’m sure your military upbringing had a great deal to do with your comfort in routine. “Following a routine does not mean one cannot enjoy life” ~ this is so true, I love my life and sticking to my routine keeps me on track to accomplish my goals. Have a wonderful week, Samina.

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  13. I think routines are comforting, and most humans are by nature creatures of habit. I’ve found this to be especially true in the case of children. Setting predictable routines helps them feel safe and secure, whether it’s at home, in school, or with extracurriculars. I think one of the reasons it feels great to go back to school is resuming the predictable schedule. Like you, my life is very routine oriented, with the exception of my writing life. Most bestselling authors I’ve read about claim to have some sort of writing routine. Blogging is about the only thing I’ve come to do with any regularity, and one of the many reasons I started blogging was to force myself to adopt a predictable schedule, at least in one area of the writing life. It’s forced me to have some measure of discipline. Maybe the rest of my writing endeavors will catch up eventually.

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    • Your comment about children and routines brought back a funny memory. When my sister and I were young, my mom had us on a strict bedtime routine, no matter the season. I remember the summers, when it was still daylight at 8:00 p.m., my sister and I would have our faces pressed to our bedroom window watching the neighbor kids playing outside. We were so envious.

      Like you, blogging is the one area in my writing life that is on a schedule. Have a great week, Gwen!

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      • Funny thing is, we had the same painful 8PM bedtime, even during the summer, and we’d also watch the neighbor kids play outside while we were supposed to be asleep. Eventually my sister and I started making up stories starring ourselves and a few of the neighbors. We’d take turns telling these stories orally, each adding on to what the other had started. The only rule was, you had to work up to a cliffhanger before the other sister could jump in and continue. We’d keep going back and forth until one of us fell asleep. It was imagination in the purest form, and it became our preferred way to pass the those early bedtime hours.

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      • I love that, Gwen. My sister and I weren’t as creative with our time, we just whined about how unfair it was. 🙂

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  14. I completely have a routine. If I don’t, I get no writing time at all. I need to carve out a little slice of time for everything, and then STICK TO IT. There is just no other way with so many things to do in life.

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  15. I like every moment to be a new, exciting thrill full of danger and possibility… provided it all plays out in a highly predictable, organized way and that I am in total control. And I’m not interrupted. And I don’t have to alter my plans. And…

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  16. I think I need to apply myself to my writing with the same kind of dedication that I apply to my storytelling profession. It’s easier to apply oneself when one is responsible to an employer or sponsor and working under deadline or punching into a timeclock, but we owe it to ourselves to be as dedicated to our own goals.

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  17. Totally off the topic, Jill, but I’m going to do another bloggers’ community late this month, on the theme of “pumpkin party.” I’d like to feature you. Would you consider sending me a link to something you’ve posted or will soon post (related to food, pumpkins and/or community) and I’ll incorporate it in my blog and link back to you. Then you can, if you want, share or repost…

    you can email the link to me at tracyleekarner (at) gmail (dot) com

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  18. I like a routine for my work. I am a freelance working at different schools and every new term when my schedule have changed I walk around with constant worry for the first couple of weeks of being at the wrong school at the wrong time. It has never happened (knock on wood) but it doesn’t matter, my routine is off and I need to re-learn it. Once I am out of work however my routine is out the window.

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    • Kudos to you for never ending up at the wrong school. It sounds as though you’ve got the best of both worlds, Josefine. You’ve got a routine, but it changes enough so it doesn’t become mundane. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

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  19. I once caught myself going to the refrigerator in the break room at work at exactly the same point in the day, taking a soda – second from the left – of the same brand every single day. That’s when I knew I was truly a victim of routine. Vacations and sudden road trips are my sole seat-of-the-pants detours and they feed my soul enough adventure to keep me motivated. Great post!

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    • Thanks, Renee! We must be related. 🙂 I often do the same tasks, at the exact same time each day, when I’m at the office. Like you, I break the routine while on vacation, but by the end of the trip, I’m ready for my routine. Thanks for stopping by!

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  20. I like having a schedule, provided I’m the one in charge of the scheduling. 🙂 I like routines provided I can switch it up.

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  21. Jill, I am a creature of habit. When I commuted to work, I tried to sit in the same seat. I also seldom vary on what I eat. I get up at the same time each day–between 6 and 7. I try to start writing early. When I was in college, I never thought of myself as a morning person. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more of a morning person. I get some of my best writing done in the morning. Depending on whether or not I have a deadline, I might work until lunch then resume at 1 or so and work until dinner and then after dinner. With my routine, I had to make sacrifices. I don’t watch much TV, so I’m very behind on the new shows. 🙂

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    • I enjoy being a creature of habit. When I lost my job a couple of years ago, my routine turned upside down, thankfully I’m back on track. I don’t watch much TV either, L. Marie. From what I’ve read about the new shows, I don’t think we’re missing much. 🙂 I’d rather write anyway.

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  22. I’m a hodge podge. I do like a routine, but can be flexible. I do find when I stick to my routine, I’m more productive. Go figure.

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