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How it’s going: building a new habit

How’s my new habit going? Great! What’s the habit? Welp, this is week 3ish of my latest attempt at developing a “Fuck online presence advice, post what I want when I want, where I want, or hey, maybe don’t post at all” antisocial media strategy.

How long will it last? WHO KNOWS? Not me, that’s for sure. I love habits. but I love breaking my own habits as much as I love trying out new systems.

Getting back into the habit of writing here on my site is simply the latest example of my eternal internal struggle between an emotional need for structured routines & a deep, biding hatred for routine obligations. (Thaaaaanks, ADHD, I love you not.)

Here’s another habit example, because who doesn’t love me talking about myself? (Don’t answer that.) I call this one “my morning putter-about.”

It isn’t a long routine, about 10 min from wakeup to hitting “stop” on the tea timer, but if it’s interrupted, even by good things, even by happy things, (even by my beloved Spouseman)

—then my ability to focus is shattered for hours afterward.

Which makes me snarly.

Spouseman has been learning the hard way since retiring that any interference in this essential brain-stretching, centering activity is perilous.

SO. PERILOUS.

Look. I didn’t ask for this brain. I work with it. There’s no, “Why not relax & be more flexible?” solution. I can chart my course from the bridge, but the engine crew regularly engages in outright mutiny if I don’t follow the rules.

Spouseman has thankfully figured out a simple, visual signal he could follow: if I’m not yet wearing day clothes & holding a full tea mug, I am not able to process any communication more complex than mumbles & hugs.

Habits are easy. Habit maintenance can be HARD.

I have similar issues with interruptions to my after-breakfast putter. By the time I get up from the table, my body is already swinging into a practiced, no-thought-required physical prep that grounds me for writing–dishes here, brain there, a second cuppa here, brain there. It’s automatic. Habit.

Picture me settling into the cockpit of fragile creativity bubble and running through my pre-flight checklist of ideas.

If I’m in that go-go-go state but there isn’t enough water in the hotpot, or there are unexpected things in the needs-to-be-used countertop spaces, or Spouseman decides that “since I’m not doing anything important” we should have a decision-related discussion of plans for later in the day or week…

BOOM. Prep concentration destroyed. Lotsa little brain pieces all over, leaking grumpy emotions everywhere. SO MUCH GRUMPY. (Sorry, Spouseman.)

I even have a routine for getting past the brain crashes. (Because if it’s worth doing, it’s worth developing a habit for handling failures.)

I walk around, noisily put away things I’ve been ignoring hard for days, clearing clutter & clearing out the sensory debris, then wander around for another half an hour or so doing random small physical activities.

That cleans out the inside of my skull so I can restart the pre-flight process. Lots of tidying gets done, too. Fringe benefits!

Spouseman is justifiably proud of his ability to recognize the different visual cues for for Tedious Task Reset versus me slogging through Ordinary Chores, so he knows when to step in and help, versus keeping the hell out of my way until I have a handle on my internal overload.

There are many reasons we’re still together in love after 37 years. One of them is that we make space for each other’s habits.


And now the things that make the website analyzer happy: outgoing links & images. A book this time.

The Sharp Edge of Yesterday

A mother on the run from her criminal past can’t escape the dangerous superpower developing inside her own body.

Grace Reed just wants to be left alone with her daughters, her small business and her quiet suburban life.

Fate has something bigger planned for all of them.

A contemporary fantasy novel about coming of age in middle age, The Sharp Edge Of Yesterday is in bookstores & libraries now.

Amazon (ebook & print)

Bookshop.org (print)

a selection of non-Amazon ebook vendors

More info here on my website

By K. M. Herkes

Author, gardener, and cat wrangler.