Nosy Writers and Other People’s Routines

Nosey Parker parrot

Mind your own business

I have a relative who often asks people how much they paid for something. To me, these questions seem inappropriate. When they’re addressed to me, I usually choose not to answer. But one evening, when this relative asked me how much I’d paid for my cookstove, I promptly, and gladly, gave him the information.

Why was I willing to dish?

This time, my relative’s question wasn’t idle nosiness. He himself was in the market for a new stove. He now was collecting information about the kind of stove he might want, and how much he’d have to pay for it.

What operates in us when we want to know about other people’s work routines? Nosiness, or legitimate interest?

Sure, we’re curious. How do they do life in that household? What is their normal?

But I think we writers, and creative people of all stripes, want to know about other people’s creating routines to learn. To be inspired. To have questions raised whose answering might transform our own lives, our work.

Many of us know Mason Currey’s wonderful book, Daily Rituals, which took off from his blog, Daily Routines. Both document the creating habits of 161 writers, artists, philosophers, composers, scientists. The other day I came across a related website, My Morning Routine. Here, people who create (artists, businesspeople, writers, parents, designers, etc.) answer a series of interview questions.

I look forward to learning much as I read and ponder others’ answers, as well as the questions themselves. These include,

“What time do you go to sleep?”
“Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?”
“How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?”
“Do you have a morning workout routine?”
“What are your most important tasks in the morning?”

These  questions (especially the last!) prompt me to consider changes I may want to make to my life.

So what’s something you recently considered—or, better yet, that transformed your daily pattern—after learning of someone else’s routine?