For many, many years, I have been a Nighttime Writer, starting around 5 or 6-ish in the evening and continuing on to 10 or 11-ish, whereupon I would call it a night and go to bed. This was more than in-part made necessary because for many, many years, I had a day-job to fill my morning and afternoon hours. I never had any problem writing at night, though, and assumed that my natural writing niche was in the evening hours.
When I left what I fervently hope proves to be my last day-job, I continued to believe myself a Nighttime Writer And I continued to schedule Things That Were Not Writing in the morning, to “get them out of the way.” The only problem was that, by the time evening rolled around and I had taken care of all the Not Writing Things, my brain was tired. Which meant that (1) it took longer for me to write my Daily Words and, (2) I was getting seriously short on sleep, which meant that I was even tireder by the time the hour to write came ’round. I broached the idea of just flipping House Time completely around — y’know, sleep in the daytime, work in the nighttime — but Steve nixed that.
So, I tried to mix it up.
First, I tried just moving the Writing Hour up into mid-afternoon, but! Midafternoon has always been and continues to be the Best Time Ever to Take a Nap. I have no brain at 3 pm; I will never have a brain at 3 pm. At 5, I’m back in the game and good until 2 am, but for the love of ghu, don’t ask me to anything between 3 and 5.
So, clearly, that little bit of time travel wasn’t going to work. The next logical thing to do was to move the Writing Hour to Hard Morning, right after breakfast; while I’m still drinking my third cup of coffee.
That was logical, sure, but I resisted it, because, if there was one thing I did know about my so-called process was that I was Just Not a Morning Writer. Hell, I’m not even a Morning Person. I have seen the sun rise, many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it rise because I was getting out of bed.
This morning, I decided that it had to be tried. So! I turned off Facebook and Twitter before I went to bed last night, so I couldn’t log in this morning, just to “see what’s going on” and get mired down for a hour. And after breakfast, I came back to my office, read the comics, and opened up a file to start to write.
I wrote for 90 minutes — this is a revival of an Old Thing I Used To Do: Set a timer for 90 minutes. For those 90 minutes, I do nothing — nothing — but write. If I stall out on a description or something, I do not open up a game of Solitaire “to help me think,” I stare at the screen until the words break out on my forehead in drops of blood, whereupon I transcribe them onto the page and continue. When the bell goes off, I have 30 minutes to do whatever I want to do, then it’s back to the 90-minute run.
Anyway, this morning, I did one 90-minute run, for a total of 1,251 words. After lunch, before 3:00, I did a second 90-minute run, for a total of 1,004 words. Two thousand, two hundred and fifty-five words is, by my lights, at least, a reasonable writing day. Even more reasonable because I didn’t feel like every word was being pried out of my brain by a tweezer-wielding chimpanzee.
So, I’m encouraged, and very much less reluctant to pitch in again tomorrow morning.
. . .all of which is, of course, fascinating stuff, but it’s what I’ve got today.
Except vacuuming. Now that the day’s work is out of the way, I have chores to do.