Can a shift to a morning writing routine save my productivity fail? Can coffee provide enough incentive for me to get out of bed? Can I succeed where so many others have … succeeded already? Let’s find out.

If you’re one of the seven or so people who has kept up with my writing ‘career’ to date you’ll have realised by now that it’s irregular, undisciplined and generally an exercise in frustration. I’ve been giving the whole shebang a great deal of thought in recent months and came to one simple conclusion a little while back: if I want to be a ‘proper writer’ then I have to write regularly, often and consistently. Yes, those are all words that mean almost the same thing but this is important. (However, there is one word I missed out.)

I’ve typically been an evening writer: you get the rest of the day out of the way and then you have the evening to spare for your writing. That’s all well and good when you have the evening’s to spare. In recent years I’ve found my spare time dwindling to sometimes as little as an hour a night, and that small stretch of time (once all evening duties have been completed and the kids are fast asleep) needs to be balanced against the need to relax, the desire to catch up on your TV viewing, and the general tiredness of the day’s end.

It’s taken me up until about last week to realise that the answer was obvious all along: stop bloody well trying to write in the evening then! I’ve dabbled with trying to write in my lunch breaks, which works to a degree but even when I get a decent lunch break I still only have about half an hour. Not really long enough to make solid headway.

So now I’ve decided to start writing in the mornings. I know of a few people (and have read about many others) who have shifted to an early morning writing routine and it looks to have massively increased their productivity: after all, it’s the time of the day when you’re least likely to be interrupted and your mind is still relatively fresh. Problem is I’ve never really been a morning person (parenthood forces you to adapt to early mornings, but you never truly embrace) so I’m shifting gradually, and because I want to bore you write something every day I’ll be posting short daily updates. Here’s the plan:

  • Today: go back to getting up at 7am (cold weather has recently inspired a retreat to 7:30am uptime)
  • Tomorrow: get up at 6:45am
  • Thursday and Friday: get up at 6:30am … possibly start dabbling with some writing
  • Next week: 6:15am gradually shifting back to 5:45am (unless it kills me first), writing each morning

I’ve done a fair bit of reading on the early morning routine and I’ve settled on the following:

  • Get everything ready to go the night before: iPad and keyboard in place; coffee on the counter; all surfaces cleared
  • Start off with a hot water, lemon and honey to get myself kick-started and hydrated
  • Get the pot of coffee ready right away
  • Do nothing else: start writing
  • Stick to pomodoros (25 minutes writing, 5 minute break, repeat) – if I can get three pomodoros each morning I’ll be very happy indeed

So that’s the plan. Let’s see if I stick to it and, more importantly, see if it works. Meanwhile if you’ve tried shifting to a morning routine for anything (not just writing) please let me know about it in the comments.