If you are like me, writing time is limited. I’m juggling a day job, a family, and my writing. I have specific goals for I want to accomplish (more on this later). I am lucky if I get one solid hour of uninterrupted writing time. There are days I do more, but it’s rare.
Up until August, I always wrote in the evening, after my kids went to bed. But it usually meant that I was giving my writing the last of my day, and exhaustion had overwhelmingly set in. I could caffeinate myself and get hyped up about a project, but then I didn’t sleep. And that just started a terrible sleep-deprived cycle. So most days, I wrote, but I was worn out.
I read WHAT THE MOST SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DO BEFORE BREAKFAST over the summer. I realized, I could try to get up an hour earlier to write. When my kids were infants I couldn’t do this because if I walked across our wood floors, our son would wake up screaming to eat. Now that he is a sounder sleeper, I thought I’d give it a try. I am in my office on the computer by 5:00am everyday. I have to start getting ready for work at 6:00am because my kids and I have to be out the door by 7:00am.
It’s only an hour, I kept telling myself. Will it be worth it? In other words, will the payoff be better than the extra hour of sleep. The answer is YES. At least, so far. I am able to get more accomplished in the hour before I shower than when I was writing at night.
Why? It’s dark. It’s quiet. The e-mail hasn’t really done much overnight (except for the ad sales that show up in my inbox in the middle of the night). TV is insanely boring at 5:00am. I can get a lot accomplished. While it’s hard to stumble out of bed, I truly am a morning person. Once I’m up, I’m okay.
Have there been negatives? Sure. The internet is still tempting. My office is cold in the morning.
But the biggest negative is a positive. I rarely WANT to quit writing at 6:00 am. Usually, I’m calculating the repercussions for prolonging the morning routine with the rest of the family—having to hurry my children to get ready, get ready, get ready. I don’t like doing this on a daily basis, so I have to cut it off at 6:00 am and make notes for myself for the next morning.
Another positive thing is that I’m not spending my writing time doing business stuff. I’m writing, really writing, revising, brainstorming, drafting, vomiting on the page in the wee hours. Then in the evening, after my kids go to bed, I can work on business related reading or activities that I want to do.
Has an hour made a difference in my writing? Absolutely, without question. I’m not going to be able to write as much as someone who writes full-time, but I am making progress day by day.
Now, I have realized that as my life has changed from being single, to married, to infant children, to young children, I’ve had to adjust my writing schedule at every life change along the way. Will this work forever? Maybe not. But for now, what a difference an hour makes.
Don’t have an hour of uninterrupted time to write? Stay tuned. I have ideas for 30 minutes, 15 minutes, and even 5 minutes.