Friday, April 17, 2015

The Espresso Routine

There is something to be said about the importance of routine for a writer like me, just as there is something to be said for spontaneity for others.

I have a morning routine. Each morning upon waking I drink an espresso. My pleasure in a morning espresso began back in the early 1990s when I earned a Krups Espresso Machine in a sales contest. The moment I took the first sip of this tightly packed, fine grind, pressure cooked coffee, I was hooked. The flavor was strong and rich, quickly turning the average coffee drinker in me into a connoisseur of sorts.

As you can envision from this brief history, the morning espresso has been my regimen for several decades. It is a routine that I do not break. Consequently, I always have espresso on hand except . . . this current
mid-April week. The espresso ran out.

My husband and I thought that this wasn't a big a problem. All we needed to do was run into town and pick up some more. After all, espresso consumption has grown tremendously in the last few decades.

In most cities, one cannot walk more than a couple of blocks without seeing a cafe or espresso cart - they are in bookstores, grocery stores, and gas stations. There are many drive-through espresso shops in parking lots!

We soon found out how hard it was to find in the small farming communities make up the area in which we live. Every store we visited in our county and the next either ran out and stopped carrying it. We spent three days and put on enough miles to have visited our out-of-town children in search of the coveted espresso blend.

Perhaps the hardest part of this adventure was the break in routine. Instead of accomplishing our usual tasks in the set timeframes, we spent each day driving to a few towns, locating the stores, perusing the coffee aisles, questioning the clerks, and leaving forlorn.

We managed to fit in the most important daily chores, like preparing dinner and playing our nightly game of Bananagrams, but the rest was put off until the next day and then the next until we finally found and bought the espresso.

I didn't realize how important routine was to my writing. Although ideas for creative pieces and serious projects pop into my head at all times of the day and night, to actually sit down and put them on paper takes routine for me. I grab my water, go into my office, surround myself with words along with the quiet to hear to them, and commence typing onto the computer screen so I can see them, create a draft, edit, and re-draft. I spend the majority of my day writing, with breaks for meals and exercise and family.

It is a comfortable routine, but a routine. When it is broken for a few days, the word begin to hide and I must hunt for them a little a harder when I launch into my routine.

The moral of this story, at least for me, is make sure to have extra espresso hand!

How about you - is routine an important for you?

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