Three months later, how am I finding the morning shift?

So I last left you back in June. Early June. Very early June. At that time I had just started the morning shift, managing eight non-consecutive days of early starts with some writing. The results were mixed to good, but generally positive. It was enough to convince me that the Morning Shift should continue, and I was definitely keen to see what I might be able to achieved longer term.

Of course, the very next week I came down with a bug – which was annoying and entirely unsurprising. That knocked my burgeoning routine out for a while. Over the last couple of months I would guess that I managed an average of three early starts per week; some days I slept in a little too late to get any decent writing time, but still got out of bed in the hopes of fostering the routine. It didn’t take long until I was at the point where, if nothing else, i was getting a certain amount of writing done each week.

Remember: some writing is always better than none writing. And none writing is probably better than either of these sentences I just wrote. (It bears repeating that, back when I was trying to write in the evenings, there would be weeks where just getting a few hundred words written was an achievement; now a few hundred word a morning was starting to become the norm).

New morning

In the last couple of weeks a few things have changed which have proven a huge boost to the Morning Shift.

At the end of July I decided to start properly logging my word counts. I’ll talk more about this in my next blog post (don’t hold your breath, just in case) but the simple fact of tracking my ongoing progress, seeing those word counts accumulate day after day, week on week, is a great motivator.

Secondly my wife got a new job which meant she needed to get up at 6am. You may recall that my original target getting-out-of-bed time was 6:35am, with the fervent hope that I would get it to around 6am after some lengthy and, no doubt, painful acclimatisation. I have to admit that even 6:35am was proving a struggle so I hadn’t made any immediate plans to start getting up any earlier. Nevertheless 6:35am was working: it gave me enough time to get up, make coffee, settle down, get 30 minutes of writing done, and then get ready for work. In those 30 minutes I was getting an average of 700 words written.

However, now that I’m not the only one getting up, it turns out that getting up at 6am isn’t a great problem. I get up, make coffee, do 30 minutes’ writing while my wife gets ready for work, have a chat, kiss my wife goodbye at 7am, do another 30 minutes and then get myself and the kids ready. My word count has only increased slightly, but I don’t expect miracles when adjusting to a new routine. As far as I’m concerned any extra words are a bonus.


Of course, as deeply fascinating as the above is, I know no one’s going to want a regular update on my morning routines. What I’ll be doing instead is aiming to provide a weekly update on my writing progress: what I’m working on, how much I’ve written, what challenges I’ve encountered. This will be my regular end of the week post (and I hope to complement these with posts earlier in the week about more specific writing related topics, or anything else that comes to mind).

This, again, is not so much because I expect people to be desperately interested in what I’m doing (although I, personally, love reading about other peoples’ writing experiences). Rather, it’s an attempt to make me accountable to a wider audience and treat my writing less like a hobby. If I’m expected to provide a weekly update on my writing, then I damn well need to make sure I get some writing done or I’m going to look pretty stupid come update time.

This is the second week I’ve been working on the first draft of a new story, tentatively called Drones. (One of the great benefits of writing regularly is that I can now start work on stories almost as soon as the ideas come, instead of relegating them to a notebook probably never to be written).

So, without further waffle, total word count for the first draft of Drones is 5952 words (as of Friday August 22, when this post was supposed to be published) and daily totals are:

  • Monday … 666
  • Tuesday … 929
  • Wednesday … 931
  • Thursday … 543
  • Friday … 934

That makes 4,003 words written for the week, and an average of 800 words per (working) day.

Not gonna complain about that 🙂