After a typically tough wake-up, it feels like things might be settling down. Or is this just the eye of the hurricane?

So, I’ve applied for a job in a pub. The pub is also a strip club (a strip pub?). I have not applied for a job as a stripper, which is good news for all concerned. I go to this pub, I’m told I need to speak to the landlady first. She’s a middle-aged no-nonsense sort. I know exactly who she is and what she looks like, which is very strange because I’ve never met her before. I decide to look around the pub first, to get a feel for the surroundings, prior to introducing myself. The place has two main rooms: a typical pub area, with a bar; and a larger area with seating. In one corner of the seated area there’s a stage. It’s currently cordoned off; nothing happening there at the moment. I decide to go and introduce myself to the landlady.

Then the alarm goes off. It’s 6:30am back in real life and I’m wondering what the hell I just dreamed. The stage comes from a place I visited with some friends a few weeks back; the pub could have been any one of dozens I’ve visited. On later reflection I can only conclude that the strip club element comes from a Parks & Recreation inspired recognition that I’ve never once been to a strip club (and despite this dream I have little interest in changing that).

The point is that this is the first morning in a while that I’ve truly felt wrenched back into real life. I was way off in another place when the alarm went off. In recent days I’ve been in some sort of purgatory between dreaming of weirdness and waking up in the dark. So, after I turned the alarm off I closed my eyes again. I had the same half-formed urge to stay in bed, but this time I could see sleepyland fracturing its way back in behind my closed eyelids.

So I got up. Slippers. Kettle. Lemon. Coffee. Radio. You know the routine by now. This morning I felt a little disconnected from it: running automatically through the steps but not very consciously. At some point I seriously consider staying in bed the next morning, convincing myself I’ve earned a false reward. I need a bit more time to wake up, so I let the cats out of the garage and feed them. (They have their own routine: scratch at the garage door when they hear me wake up; polish off the other cat’s food; have their own breakfast; go outside). Watching them dither endlessly before heading out the door I wonder if I’ve made a mistake: I can’t settle down to writing if the cats are around to disturb me. Eventually they go out and I settle down to write. My lemon and honey tastes bitter today (maybe the lemon’s sour?). I taste my coffee and it’s about the same (too much coffee grounds?).

I press on regardless. I’ve already gone past the scene in my story that needed restructuring. Now I’m on a section that needs a bit more emotion, some clearer characterization: it needs work, but it’s not quite as laborious as replotting. Today I manage a 700 word chunk. Could be better, but there’s a lot of background thinking going on alongside the writing. I’m getting in good shape for the rest of the scene, even if the word count is a little low.

For the first time I don’t reach a natural stop. I’ve got a decent flow going by around 7:20am and then I hear Stormy wake up. This is the situation I’ve been wondering about with the morning writing: would I be just getting started and then have to stop? Would it end up being too frustrating? In the end it doesn’t bother me: I go and get Stormy and then put my writing away. I know that stopping in the middle of a scene will make it easier to pick up again tomorrow morning.

I make breakfast, finish getting ready and then head off to work. On the drive to work my head is buzzing with new ideas for the scene I’m working on. This is a fairly new thing. Having started with the writing first thing, my brain is charged and yet still clear enough to chop and change the story. This doesn’t usually happen until I go to bed and my head is slowly flushing out all the crap from the day (sometimes I even remember the new plot ideas the next day). Today I can make my notes while they’re still fresh in my head, and they’ll be there ready for me tomorrow morning.

The upshot of this is that there’s no way I’ll be stealing that lie-in tomorrow. I want to be up and writing down all of today’s ideas. I’m even thinking seriously about setting my alarm earlier next week so I have a bit more time

I am bloody tired though. This new routine will still take some getting used to…

A footnote (while I think about it): yes, I am tired, but as I mentioned yesterday, it’s a good tired. For the last two days I’ve really felt the weariness at work, but I also think I’ve been a bit more productive. The tiredness isn’t getting in the way of anything, and the kick start to my day is giving me a bit more of a mental charge each morning. I expect the tiredness to pass gradually, but I also expect the benefits to remain. Talk about having your cake and eating it.