Taking Back the Morning

I’ve always been an early riser, because most of my work has required that: Registered Nurse, Airline Stewardess, mother. When I began writing novels it was natural to write in the early morning. By 11 a.m. I was out the door for a walk, swim, or to the gym, and with the day’s words behind me. Then I moved to the desert, and with a dog who adored her morning and evening walk it meant getting an earlier start due to the higher temperature.

Writing soon became not the first event of the day. That was okay, because I’d come back home by 8 a.m. shower and head into the office ready to start the day. Then my dog passed away. Shortly after that I got published. Then I started the merry-go-round of publishing. I juggled each book in its myriad forms of first round edits, final edits, marketing, promotion, and tons of stress and worry. Writing new words took a back seat. For a writer that’s bad news. Without words ya’ got nuthin’.

Frustrated Woman at Computer With Stack of Paper

I adore Chuck Wendig, and this is his take on giving up: Every time you fail to finish your work, a little girl loses another kitten. A unicorn loses his horn and becomes a regular stupid old horse. A sweet old lady chokes on her dentures. But worst of all, every time you fail to finish your work it wears another hole in your soul. Of course there is more, but not knowing Chuck personally, I’m not sure how much of a quote I can get away with without being sued. ; ) But here is one of Chuck’s friends:MC900444725[1]

My post-getting-published routine started with checking e-mails. Then I spent several hours on FB, Twitter, Kindle Boards, my favorite blogs, and of course checking my Amazon ranking. Add in a few blogs where I left comments, and yep, you got it…it was after 10 a.m. and I was still in pajamas.  So I’d hustle down the hall, throw in a load of laundry, shower and dress, and head over to Curves for a workout. On the way home I’d run errands. Some days I’d arrive back home well after the lunch hour. By 3-4 p.m. I’d be in my recliner, or curled up on the couch taking a fifteen minute nap. Then it was what’s for dinner?

So what happened to my morning? What happened to my day? It seemed foreign to head into the office after dinner, because that was my downtime. Except now I wasn’t even having an uptime. My day was consumed by an excess of the trivial.

This week I took back my morning. I wrested it from the greedy hands of social media with new rules:

  1. Check e-mail while eating breakfast, but then go straight to work for at least three hours of writing.
  2. By 11 a.m. leave for a workout and run errands.
  3. On returning home, treat myself to social media.

It’s a plan, a good plan, but will it work? Tell me how you handle your writing day? Or is it only a stolen hour here and there during the work day, or while the little ones nap? If you aren’t getting the words on paper, re-read Chuck’s words: http://www.terribleminds.com and for heaven’s sake think of the unicorns.

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17 Responses to Taking Back the Morning

  1. LOL – yes, we must prevent one more little old lady from choking on her dentures, too.

    I try spend as little time as possible on social media (though I’ve read the best times to post are between 8-11 eatern time and after 3 or something like that – for the most views). But I can’t start the day without checking my e-mail, and of course Amazon rankings, earnings yada yada. Sometimes this is a long process.

    I am best with writing in the mornings, but like you have found all of this SM dithering has pushed back my start time. Half the time I can’t think of anything to say on FB anyway. Good for people who can.

    I’ve cut my personal blog to every other week (at my website) and I only guest blog when I have books out.

    I dream of becoming a cranky old woman who tunes out the world and simply writes.

    Is that asking too much unicorns? Sheesh

  2. Hi Roben and good morning!
    I agree. I am more productive with writing in the mornings. Some days and on the weekends, I don’t even get to social media anymore. I try… but you know what I find…I am happier in my own skin when I really want to do it. And on those days, I totally enjoy interacting with my FB friends. Today, I’m writing first! I was happy to finish chapter one on a new book last week, so I feel like a little kitten will not lose one of his lives because of me.

  3. Robena Grant says:

    I love this line, Charlene: happier in my own skin when I really want to do it. And I’m so happy you haven’t been offing any kittens. Ha ha.

    Absolutely agree with your comments. That authenticity shows. I never want to fake it in social media and would rather like everyone’s comments or posts than “create” a comment of my own unless I genuinely want to do so.

    Oh, and I forgot to say, Monday is the only day that I don’t plan on writing first thing in the morning because it is my office day, official blogging and social media catch up day. ; )

  4. I like you idea of a social media day Robena. That way you do not have the excuse of sneaking over incessantly to post when you have given over a big chunk ‘o time to the effort once a week.

    Long story short, I expect the commitment will vary with the individual and what she likes/can tolerate. The neverending problem is not giving over TOO much time to the social. 🙂

    Thanks for the great post. I am visioning you in your jammies–happy as a clam.

  5. Robena Grant says:

    Thanks for coming by, Christine. I like your comments. did you see the post Nathan Bransford put out? I just caught it over on google+
    A very interesting look at social media.

  6. Maria Powers says:

    Hmm, to social media or to not social media. I enjoy it but I also enjoy being unplugged too. I find that I do have a tendency to use it to “avoid” writing. Chuck makes me laugh but I also know that I am not Chuck and it is far worse for me when I have someone else defining what writing is or is not. Somedays I have better balance than other days and I keep working on it.

    Yep, I just need to keep working on finding my own balance. I just wish that this also worked out my core which would mean less time at the gym.

  7. Robena Grant says:

    I like to unplug every once in a while too, Maria. I used to worry about what would happen if I didn’t show up. Life caused a couple of times that I was “away” for a week or so at a time, and guess what, nobody knew. Ha ha.

  8. Janie Emaus says:

    I’m finding that social media is necessary evil. If I could quit my day job entirely, it would be much easier to juggle all my time.

  9. Nan says:

    I’m away right now, so my “schedule” is totally messed up, but I did manage to get an editing gig done out here and get the final version on ONCE MORE FROM THE TOP to my editor for CE. However, I’m much happier when I’m organized and scheduled and getting things done instead of hanging out on the InterWebs. But…I’ll be doing exactly that throughout October and November as I promote my two books. But, writing time will be in the a.m.– that’s also my best time to be creative.

  10. Robena Grant says:

    Yes, you will, Nan. Oct and Nov will be very busy social media months for you. And highly successful, too. I just wish I hadn’t let myself get so overwhelmed that I forgot the importance of new words on the page. I’m glad I got a smack upside the head this week. : )

  11. I don’t care about the unicorns but the poor little old lady choking on her dentures…
    I just write whenever I can find the time to write.
    Sounds like you have a good plan in place, though. Hopefully that means you’ll turn out more good books for us to read.

    • Robena Grant says:

      Yep, I hear you, Judy. It’s hard to work in the writing time when you have a day job. Today was the first real day of the plan (Monday is office day) and you know what, it went well. I got to Curves at 11:30 after editing three chapters of Gone Tropical. I had a terrific sense of accomplishment. So yeah, writing early in the day seems to be what is required, and what works naturally.

  12. londonmabel says:

    I used to write at night, but working a day job, and taking drugs that make me sleepy, isn’t helping. …Not that that’s why I’m not writing, but it’s part of the lack of routine-ee-ness. I get energy and creativity around midnight, so I wash the dishes, and do a chore, and then I’m finally in the mood to write… and I crash.

    Well, I’ll think of that poor little girl next time.

  13. Robena Grant says:

    Oh, no! Not the kitteeeees!
    Yep, I can lose an entire day if I don’t stick with my routine. And even if I only plan to write for one hour it’s good because I’ll generally do more.