Writing is so full of stops and starts, failures and successes. It is never easy.
I have come to realize that my four am writing hour isn’t really working anymore. I’m getting up at that ungodly hour every morning, only to stare at a blank screen or peruse Facebook most days. A few weeks ago I made a long list of writing topics and mapped out a writing schedule for myself, putting actual topics and essays on my calendar each day. I thought that would help keep me focused in the mornings. But for the most part, it hasn’t. I feel foggy in the mornings, not productive. I enjoy the silence, but I feel like I am wasting that time.
Also, I’ve been back to work for over a month now, and I’m still struggling to get used to school year schedule. Most nights I can’t even stay awake until the kids’ bedtime! I literally go lie down at 8:00 and catnap until 8:30, get up and help put the kids down, and then drop straight back into bed and fall asleep. I can’t seem to stay awake even to talk with Steven for a few minutes before bed like we used to do.
The thing is that I really, really, hate to admit that my writing hour isn’t working, because I’m so proud of it. I’m so proud of myself for making myself write and carving out regular time from my busy life to commit to something I so want to succeed at.
But I can’t keep ignoring the fact that for whatever reason, my writing hour is not very productive anymore.
Steven and I have been brainstorming some other ways for me to get that time in, like taking two hours away at a coffee shop or the library every weekend, and maybe once a week going somewhere to write after school for a couple of hours before coming home. Steven’s schedule is more flexible right now, so he can pick the kids up most of the time. There is also the option of using the evening hours. The kids usually watch TV for an hour before bed, and I am usually surfing the net, watching something on my laptop, or reading during that time (that is, if I am not already in bed). I appreciate that down time at the end of the day, but maybe once or twice I week I can turn that into an hour of true writing time.
I’m not sure if this will work. I prefer the consistency of a daily time (does this show you that I am a control freak and like to plan ahead?), but for now, I have to figure out another way.
So as of this week, I am saying goodbye to my 4 am writing hour. One day I may be able to resurrect it, but for now, I am letting it go. I am sad that I won’t meet my writing hour each morning. It almost feels like its own person or presence in a strange way (that writers will understand). But I think my body will be so relieved to be able to sleep an extra hour in the mornings!
Wish me luck.
Writing is a compulsion, not merely a habit. If you lose your hour, you won’t lose much else. You’ll still find time to write because you have to.
I agree, Joel! What great words! As I get older, I find myself craving routine, so I think letting go of the routine of it is the hardest part. I look forward to being more flexible – and to being able to stay up a little later at night!