Since the start of the year, I have been attempting to write every day (those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I have now surpassed laboring this point and am fast approaching the realms of beating you all into submission with my incessant squawking about it). Hey, I’m a bird (at least for the purposes of this post I am), what did you expect?
One of the most interesting things I learned during those torturous four and a half weeks was that there were clear differences in the quality and quantity of my work depending on what time of the day I wrote. When I first began writing (approx eighteen months ago), I predominantly wrote at night (mainly because this was the only free time that I had). At first I thought it suited me to crank out the laptop when other normal, more sane people were sleeping. As my love for the written word grew, I found myself writing whenever and wherever I could: mornings, afternoons, lunch breaks, early hours of the morning etc….
It soon became obvious that writing in the mornings or early afternoons was much easier for me. I felt mentally refreshed and physically capable of sitting at the computer typing than I did after a long, hard day at work. My current profession is a physical one by nature, but not only that, it is emotionally tiring and mentally draining. Slumping on my couch at the end of the day was about all I could manage most of the time.
Because I found myself reluctant to write at night I found my writing time as a whole curtailed because of it. Now it was a case of squeezing in as much writing as I could on the days in which I had mornings or afternoons free. This meant that sometimes I was not actively writing for upwards of a week at a time. Imagine having to hold your breath continuously – this is how my protracted absences from writing felt. On the days that I was free I felt compelled to sit down ALL day to write, hoping to catch up on those missed opportunities that had slipped through my fingers.
When you set yourself a challenge in which it is imperative that you write every day (as well as having a full-time job), spare time is of the essence. Only one day out of the month of January did I write at night and guess what?
I hated it!
The words were slow, my writing turgid, and the eight hundred or so words that I did manage were likely some of my worst. ‘I won’t do that again’, I though to myself with a triumphant laugh. Until I realised how hectic my schedule was for the coming week….. There was barely a gap for me to catch my breath let alone getting any significant writing done. This had left me with only one option; a thought so scary that I was unsure I could contemplate it without screaming the house down…..
Getting up early!!
The thought horrified me. Could I really give up a precious hour or two of my beauty sleep in order to maintain the sanctity of my writing challenge? I’ll be the first to admit that I like my bed. No, scrap that…..I LOVE MY BED. The duvet and I have been soul mates for as long as I can remember. There has never been a day when he and I haven’t met and fallen into a deep and contented sleep in each others arms. Like a lioness protecting her cubs, I guard my sleeping hours fiercely. Could I ever really contemplate shortening my resting period?
Well, if I wanted to stand a chance of completing the challenge then I had to. As much as it went against every fiber of my being, I bit the bullet and got up early (and it was still dark outside, too). Much to my surprise, I found the simple joy of accomplishing my daily word count overrode the feelings of grief and loss at my shortened sleep cycle. Even better, the words came free and easy to me. The only downside was that I was up so early and deprived of sleep that I looked like something out of a Gremlins movie.
Maybe there is some truth the title of this post. Maybe the early bird really does catch the word or maybe it’s just me. What do you guys think?