All writers have them. They are the rituals we go through so we can write. They’re the check-list of behaviour we do before we can start our engine. And if I don’t do them. I don’t write. How do I know this? Because recently my routine has been all but destroyed. For a myriad of reasons too dull to catalogue a propensity for procrastination has stunted my output. I’m angry with myself for letting it get so bad. Which in turn feeds the feelings of doubt that haunt the decision to write. I’ve let myself become overwhelmed by the enormity of the task ahead. By the feeling that there isn’t enough time. And the moral equivocation that questions my right to put my partners through the deliberate absence that comes when I loose myself in my work. Ironically. To stop this happening. Push all these doubts to the back of my mind. I impose a routine that forces an absence. Allows me to focus. And lets me write. What I have discovered because it has been so absent is I need a routine that gets me up as early as possible. Hungover. Get up. Not feeling it. Get up. Horny. Get up. Get up and seventy percent of the battle is won. After that I have to get through a few basic mechanical tasks as quickly as possible. First I turn on my computer. While she’s booting up. I go to the toilet. Then make a cup of herbal tea. I wish it was strong black coffee. But I had to stop drinking coffee. I was imbibing so much it was giving me palpitations by lunchtime. Herbal teabag immersed. Avoiding the distractions of morning television. I then sit down at my computer. And as quickly as possible get through the list of tasks that I know are nothing more than creative avoidance. You know the sort of thing. Checking your email account for pressing correspondence. Thankfully I avoid the circulars. Leave them for later. But when that’s done I’m compelled to catch up with some of those I follow on twitter or linkedin; for more information of pressing importance. I know it’s not really that pressing or that important. But I still feel the need to look. Then I have to check my websites for comments and likes. And sometimes. Like today. Post something. Thus removing a thought or niggle that is taking up space in my head. Thankfully LessBeauty // MoreBrains is a stream of digigraphs taken when I’m out and about. And uploaded there and then. So doesn’t occupy time in the morning when I’m supposed to be working. Finally. As a kind of run up to the task at hand. I read through the previous days output. Only after doing all this can I start work. What I have realised while writing this is I need to exhaust myself before I can start. Only in that state of dilapidated mental function can I stop thinking and start doing. It all sounds a bit bonkers. It’s definitely counter-intuitive. But it’s what I am compelled to do before I get going. The hard part is accepting it as part of the process.