This weekend I discovered what I believe is my optimum time of day to write. I didn’t plan this discovery, it was totally accidental.
I’m a creature of habit and routine. I wake up and practice a morning meditation. Then I perform a few exercises while still in bed. My meditation practice began as a way to try to reduce stress and has become a ritual I look forward to. I started the exercises to alleviate a bout of sciatica and have continued them in the hope of preventing a return.
Yesterday, I finished my routine and, for some unknown reason, decided to turn on my computer. I was still in pajamas, I hadn’t eaten breakfast. Lately my computer has had a mind of its own, sometimes turning on immediately, sometimes taking a rather long time to wake up. Yesterday it sprang into action immediately.
Taking this as a portent of good things to come, I opened the manuscript I have been working on for over five years. The major rewriting I’m undertaking started over a year ago and I was floundering in the middle of chapter two. I kid you not.
So, there I was still in pajamas, with a belly beginning to complain from lack of sustenance, and my fingers flew over the keyboard. Within an hour I’d completed the second chapter. Another hour saw me half way through the third. The third hour I spent reading and revising what I’d written. Finally, I showered and cooked breakfast. I felt amazing. And not once had I checked my emails or surfed the net looking for inspiration or distraction.
This morning I tried the same routine again, with the same results. The challenge for me will be trying to include some time for writing on work days. Unless I decide to limit writing time to weekends. Trial and error might just be the way to go.
I’ve discovered a few other writers who practice their craft in the early mornings. Ernest Hemingway was one, “When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write.” Don DeLillo also began the day writing, “I work in the morning at a manual typewriter. I do about four hours and then go running.” Haruki Murakami has a repetitive writing routine, “When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at 4am and work for five or six hours.” William Gibson, Maya Angelou and Anaϊs Nin were all morning writers. It looks as if I am in good company. I can only hope some of their brilliance will rub off on me just from adopting their routine.
What time of day do you write?