It’s the big one: the first morning that I’ve pledged to get up and do some writing. It’s also Monday and, as we all know, Monday was created for the sole purpose of making us suffer. So let’s see how I got on.
If you’ll recall my post from Friday I had in no way committed to getting up early over the weekend. I’m proud to say I stuck rigidly by that lack of commitment: on Saturday I didn’t get up until Stormy started demanding his breakfast; and Sunday is my lie-in day (and damn you if tell me I should sacrifice that!). I only mention the weekend because there was such a deep chill in the air on Saturday morning that I wondered if I’d made an insane error of judgement in trying to switch to a morning routine right at the start of winter.
So there was a bit of trepidation this morning. As planned I’d got everything ready the night before: cleared the surfaces, got the coffee paraphernalia ready; moved the heater in – basically did anything I could that would avoid the need to think too much before sitting down to write. The scene, as they say, was set.
Now, one thing I’ve noticed is that with my old morning routine (getting up at 7am or later) it was easy to understand whether it was time to get up or not: if it was light it was time to get up; if it was dark, it was ok to stay in bed. Now it’s dark when I get up, which makes it really hard to judge whether it’s nearly time to get up, or actually time to get up, or still the middle of the night. This came into play when I woke up this morning, felt the now familiar dread that it might be time to get up, looked at the clock and saw that it was only 4:30am after all.
(Not sure whether my sleep is more disrupted because I’m changing my routine, or if I’m simply more aware of when I wake up in the night, or if it’s all just a coincidence at this stage).
Anyway, 6:30am came along, the alarm went off and I got out of bed. I can’t tell you how much it surprises me that I keep managing to get out of bed. This may be in part because I’ve conditioned myself to get up at a specific time, instead of roughly when I feel like it, or because I’m getting up because I want to do something, rather than because I have to. Or it could be both. Either way, I got up (and for those of you on Stormy-watch: he didn’t even stir).
I stuck to my planned routine: kettle on, lemon sliced, cafetiere prepped, one mug with lemon and honey, one mug ready for coffee, sit down, write.
And I did. I wrote. I’m editing a story, so it wasn’t hardcore, word-pounding, fill-the-screen writing, but I did go through a 2,800 chunk of my story (I only just counted those words up – wow! Had no idea I’d gone through such a big chunk).
I have to say I noticed the difference. Some evenings I would sit down and stare at the same paragraph for half an hour before finally giving up. Other evenings I’d manage some writing, but would typically run out of steam as soon as I’d reached the end of the scene. This morning I hammered through one and half scenes, and would have happily gone on if I hadn’t made the decision to stop at 7:30am. There was one brief moment where I got stuck but it lasted maybe half a minute – I just got up and walked around for a moment then went right back to it.
Many of the blog posts I’ve read advocating early morning writing talk about having a clear mind as the biggest selling point. I thought I’d sit down this morning bemoaning the cold, struggling to keep my eyes open, looking to the bottom of the coffee pot for any available distractions. But no, I just sat down and wrote. I didn’t have the whole rest of the day buzzing around in my head for attention, I didn’t have the crushing need just to sit down and relax (dammit), I didn’t have the distractions of kids failing to go to sleep or TV trying to tempt me away. I just sat down and wrote.
And it was great.