Last week I posted this picture on my private Facebook page and a friend and aspiring writer asked me for tips on waking early to write (thanks, Danielle!). As I replied to her, I realized I had a good bit to say on this so thought it might help and encourage other writers who are also searching for more time to write.
Two years ago on the eve of Dinosaur Boy’s 3rd birthday, I blogged about my struggle of finding time to write with a toddler and a newborn. You can find that post here. Now, as DB is on the cusp of turning 5, here are what works for me, and hopefully some of these resonate with you as well.
First off, I’m one of those people who need pretty much silence to write. I can edit and critique with noise and flurries of activity around me, but I can’t hold onto plot threads when there’s too much distraction.
I figured out pretty early on that my writing time would need to be when everyone is asleep. Before even the chores wake up and start demanding my attention.
How Do You Get Out of A Nice Warm Bed to Sit In Front of A Computer?
Nothing gets you out of bed faster than the sounds of a hacking cat or screaming child.
Some mornings are incredibly tough.
Especially if I’ve been up and down all night with a sick child. Or if the A/C hasn’t kicked off once and the house is finally frigid and my covers deliciously warm.
What makes me drag myself out of bed is reminding myself that THIS IS THE ONLY TIME I GET. My day runs so much better when I start it feeling accomplished rather than regretful.
Because my writing time is so limited, that in itself is a motivator. I’m usually forced to close my computer by hungry kids so the whole rest of the day I keep a brain-browser open in the background (and my journal), brainstorming different ideas so that when I finally do have the chance to write, I’m excited to do it.
I look forward to pages to fill and coffee to drink.
I’m Up. Now What?
As my brain and body got used to our arrangement, it became easier to wake up and immediately have enough brain function to write. I don’t always have the ability to speak coherently, but that comes once coffee is consumed and the hubs wakes. Sometimes taking a shower first thing is what it took to get my creative grey-stuff moving along.
A habit must be created and that takes time and doing it over and over.
But for the times I don’t wake bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, or I don’t have an active manuscript, I have my to-do lists so sleepy-me doesn’t waste time. Just crossing things off helps me feel accomplished and jump-starts my brain. It’s something I can leave out and add to throughout a busy day too.
I’m a self-motivator for the most part, but accountability is a pretty awesome thing. Don’t have any early-riser writing buddies? No worries. Some super smart early birds set up a twitter account with the hashtag #5amWritersClub to help connect with other early bird writers.I hope sharing what works for me helps motivate other writers who want to start their day with words.
Please share any tips for what works for you too!