It’s working.  I’m on day 9 of my up at 5am writing routine, and I just crossed 100 pages (over 28,000 words) on my WIP.  I’ve never written anything this quickly.   7120919645

(Of course, it will ALL have to be rewritten, especially since one character has changed names unintentionally.)

So I’m really excited about that development.  But I’m equally excited about some other things I’m figuring out now that I’m full-on into this practice.

1. My stress level is greatly reduced. Before I started to wake up in the dark, I spent most of my day feeling pressured for time, carrying the weight of “not writing” around like an anchor.  All day, I felt like I should be doing something else.  But now, well, the most important thing is done before the sun comes up, and I spend the rest of the day doing my other work without guilt.

2. My blog is more, um, bloggish. For a long time I resented the idea of a blog that needed to be more direct, more advice-oriented. Now, I realize that my resistance was caused by the fact that I wasn’t doing my creative writing.  So I used this space to get that creative energy out.  I still think that’s AWESOME, and I love reading blogs – like Billy Coffey’s and Shawn Smucker’s – that are more meditative, more lyric. And without a doubt, I will write those more lyric pieces here, too.  But I also like that I can write more direct blog about writing without feeling pressure from myself to craft a post into something more like my creative work.

3. My mind stays in “writing mode” all day. I spend most of my day doing lots of writing-related tasks – from social media posts for clients to editing dissertations to writing articles for magazines and journals.  So when I start my day with writing, it sort of kick starts my brain and gets me to the space – the one I think of as tucked behind my lungs – where the best words grow.  Then, all day, the writing comes more easily, even as I switch from voice to voice and style to style.

4. I have more time. It seems obvious, but when I get up almost two hours before my husband and before most of the world starts sharing great Upworthy videos, I have more time to get things done.  So by 7:15, my former start time for work, comes around, I’ve already written a chapter, taken care of email, and started scheduling posts for clients.  It’s awesome.

5. I stop working without regret. Because of that lingering guilt over not having written, I often found myself compensating by working into the evening.  Now, I do have a hard time parting ways with Eldridge, my smart phone, but I don’t feel obligated to answer emails or do work after 5pm. At that point, I’ve already been working for 12 hours (minus the lunchtime walk up the mountain with the puppy), so I have done enough, and I can know that in a different way now.

Hear me, though. I don’t think this schedule is for everyone. Some of us are better night-writers (a phrase I love because it makes me think you have talking cars), and some of us have to write in between children and jobs and dish-washing.  You should pick the schedule that works for you.  But for me, this one is it.

What do you find changes in your day when you set aside time to do your writing?  What do you feel like when you don’t?


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