If you live in Canberra, like I do, you’ll feel my pain when May comes around. The weather shifts to icy cold and any will you had to get up early evaporates. I am not a morning person at the best of times, but once winter turns up, things get increasingly complicated.
Because I am not a morning person, I am addicted to blog posts and youtube videos titled, how to create a morning routine, how to get up at 5am, why morning is the best part of the day. I’m constantly looking for some magical fix. Something to get me up as soon as the alarm sounds (no snoozing) and pumped to hit the day running and clear off my to-do list. Every now and then I have success, for example, my youtube video productive day in the life of a full-time writer. In this video I got up at 5am and managed to knock off 15 tasks from my to-do list. I’d recommend checking it out if you need a boost in enthusiasm.
The problem with making that video was the amount of time I put into it. I worked for 15 hours. Which at the time was great, but the next day I was wiped. The point of getting up early is to finish your work day earlier. I have to remind myself of this so often. When I get up early, I tend to keep working to the time I normally finish which makes for a long work day. This is a no-no. No wonder I can’t stick to a morning routine. My subconscious is telling me not to get up because I can’t keep up the stamina of 12 to 15 hour work days. Girl, 8 hours is plenty!
But what if I want to work for 15 hours in one day? What if I have a deadline to finish the latest draft of my novel? What if I’m more productive when I dedicate one entire day to one task, and I don’t tire when I have this single-minded focus? Is it ok to keep going? If I have great momentum, should I stop? Is it worth it to finish something and have a two day hangover afterward?
These are the questions I ask myself on a regular basis. I am a night-owl at heart. Sometimes I have these strokes of genius between 11pm and 2am. On the other hand, I’m known to be incredibly productive between the hours of 5am and 9am, but it’s a rarity. Is it ok that I have no writing routine? Is it ok that I do have a writing routine, but it’s never the same set time? If I write for 4 hours a day, five out of seven days, is this ok? I would say yes. The work is getting done. It’s my work, my way.
We shouldn’t feel we have to be in a box with a neat label. If sometimes we take Thursday and Friday off writing, and other weeks it’s Monday and Wednesday, who cares? As long you are making progress getting the job done. Make the time whenever you can, whenever you want, whenever you feel like it. Take inspiration from others, but don’t get into the negative head space of comparing yourself and feeling inadequate. Writing is personal and take pride in your own unique style.
Remember, if it’s not fun, don’t take it seriously. We are all just a lunatic writing a book.