Thursday, April 28, 2011

5 a.m.

That's the time that I have successfully gotten up this week, every weekday, and written more for The Gravediggers for an hour before I showered, ate, and went to work.  In that time, I've managed to finish three chapters--drafts, edits, etc.--and I've been on-time to work each day as an added benefit.

Actually, there have been many more benefits!  By writing every morning between 5 and 6:15 or so, I've had the quiet that I don't get during any other time of the day.  I also get my thoughts during my waking-up moments, which are often the best and most creative ones I get all day.  I feel a sense of peace and contentment I don't get when I write any other time of day; I'm by myself, doing my own thing.  Just me and the keys.  It's rekindled the utter joy I used to feel writing fiction.

The reason I decided at first to get up even earlier than usual--I have a get up very early kind of job--is that I was run-down by the sheer number of words, edits, papers and corrections I have to do at my job.  When I got home, I couldn't bear the thought of doing any of my own, so I had to wait for the weekends.  So I decided that I would try to wake up early and get my words done BEFORE I was completely turned-off to writing by everyone else's writing.

And what happened?  By writing in the morning and then going to work, I got enough writing done so that I was excited about doing even more when I got back.  I knew exactly what I wanted to work on, so I was already invested and focused, already driven to get more words done--even though I was still dealing with the same volume of material at my job.  It just didn't bother me as much when I got back.  I was already working in my head all day what I wanted to do when I got back.

When I couldn't garner the energy to work any more when I got home (yesterday), I got the business end done: I got my recent rejections in order; I jotted down where I'd sent things, where I should send things, which responses I'd gotten back, which conferences were coming up...

The bottom line: I refused to allow myself the excuse anymore that I just didn't have time.  I found the time.  And this is coming from an insomniac, from someone who went to sleep between midnight and 2 a.m. usually, got up around 6 a.m. and did the day.  Turns out, waking up at 5 a.m. also makes you more tired, so you go to sleep from 10 pm to midnight instead, and then do it all over again.

I followed Steven Pressfield's advice (in his tidy The War of Art) and I overcame that particular Resistance.  Check the book out.  Maybe it'll inspire you, too.  Believe me, if I can change something, like getting up even earlier, then you can, too.


  1. Wow-- kudos to the early morning writing! I've tried to get up earlier, but I haven't been too successful. Keep up the good work!

  2. Ive heard of many writers who do this but personally my optimum time is 11 am til 2pm...luckily I run my own business and can usually make the flexibility. I also write on the weekends and when I am away travelling. I also take days off to mull things over(as I have done today). I liked and thought intersting your post on Novels in one sentance...this is what I'd call a 'log line' and its always really useful as an excersize to come back to and ones work moves on...regards
    Bren Gosling