How Routines Can Break Conventions

Routine is important. especially for a writer. If you don’t write, around the same time each day, you simply won’t write at all. This can feel conventional, and I think the best writers try to break free of convention, but this convention breaks itself. In fact, I believe all conventions break themselves if they are purposefully created and maintained. While building a routine for your day is a convention that most, if not all adults, thrive on, once the routine has been kept for a certain amount (a long) time, it is no longer convention as the routine you have built has taken you so deeply into your craft that you are discovering more everyday–and so the act of the routine is confined to convention, but the honing of your craft, which is a convention in and of itself, breaks down the deeper into that craft you go.

Think of it like this: A convention is something many people do. Right. It’s conventional, it’s the norm. Someone might say, “I go on a run everyday,” and that seems like a normal thing–many people run everyday, or at least try and sometimes they miss a day and that’s fine. But if someone says, “I go on a run everyday, and I haven’t missed a day for three years,” suddenly that normality has been shattered. The same can be true of any routine when it is taken to extremes. Extremes break convention whether it means meditating for 365 consecutive days in a row, or writing for ten minutes on a “write or die” style word dump program like I’m doing right now everyday. Of course, I’m not writing everyday. Not on this blog, anyway. I’m the runner who misses a day now and then, and it’s not a setback, it’s not a bad thing necessarily, but what does extreme lengths of repetition do to conventions? My understanding is that it makes you a master at the craft you’ve poured your heart and soul into. It makes you an expert at whatever it is you love.



When your hand breaks mine–

Just breaks away–

I mean. Leaving my hand slightly warm

And feeling like rubber’s been placed upon it

I know that’s when it’s time leave.


When your face grips mine–

Just my eyes–

I mean. Holding my gaze for the last time

And picking out the pupils of your mind

I know it doesn’t end today.


When your tea cup rings–

Just put down–

I mean. Sustaining a single note

And drawn out sighs all left behind

I know this story ends soon.


When your books sit still–

Just as show–

I mean. The words I found to say

And actions I could not

I know we are awake.