Writing

Of Early Mornings and Writing habits

Early Morning Writing Habits

I am a morning person. When I tell people that, I usually get one of two responses: ‘I wish I were a morning person. I don’t know how you do it!’ Or alternatively, a look of disbelief and the question ‘But, why?‘ When I say I am a morning person, I don’t mean I jump out of bed singing a song. Nor am I chirpy or bubbly. It’s just that I like waking up early and starting my day.

I wasn’t always a morning person. Through high school and later, university, I would stay up till two or three a.m., consume copious amounts of caffeine in order to get through the day and night, and sleep at odd hours including afternoons if I could. But then, grown-up life got me into a routine of sorts. Even then, I would probably wake up reluctantly after hitting the snooze button seventy billion times around 6:30 or 7 a.m. depending on where I worked. I could still sleep in on weekends till 9 and have slow starts to my days. But over time, things changed. Especially because I began exercising in the mornings. With that, my body clock adjusted to the point where a sleep-in on the weekend is 7 a.m. Anything after eight is usually a sign that I am sick! More importantly, though, I find I am way more productive in the morning and have a lot more energy as well.

At the start of the year, I attended a free webinar on creating a writing habit. It’s something I have known I’ve needed. Having listened to the podcast So you want to be a writer for years, the biggest thing I’ve learnt is to sit and write. To create a sort of routine or habit. I managed to do that briefly in 2017 for NaNoWriMo and a little after when I would write after coming home from work. But my work is one which requires a lot of emotional and mental headspace and I can generally feel quite drained after a workday. Still, back then it worked.

Then last year, 2020, the year where we had to work from home, writing took a backseat. I began using my desktop for work purposes which meant, all my creative energy was zapped. Having more time from not commuting felt like an illusion because there was a lot of mental energy in reorganising routines and adapting to change. But I wanted to prioritise my writing this year. Even though I knew it meant scheduling time in like before, I wasn’t sure how it would work given the continued working from home commitments and also, a more senior role. I attended the webinar to see if there were additional insights.

The webinar was run by Chloe Higgins and while there wasn’t anything new or groundbreaking for me at least, she mentioned writing in the mornings – even before looking at emails, or phones, or anything. Now, I’ll confess like most people, I look at my phone and scroll through social media for the first five or ten minutes after waking up. Then I get changed into gym gear, go to the bathroom, have a coffee and head out to the gym. I have a routine that grounds me. But as I was listening to her, I wondered – I am a morning person. I know I am productive in the mornings. I am also generally not consumed by work when I wake up. What if I tried to write in the mornings before the gym especially since I’m working from home and don’t need to hit the gym at six and could potentially go thirty minutes later?

On the 5th of January – a day after the webinar – I tried a new routine.

I set my alarm for 5 a.m., got changed into my gym gear, washed my face, and fed the cats. I made my coffee and set up my laptop on my dining table {given I associate the desktop with work now}. I set a timer for 30 minutes and then started writing a short story. That first day, it was slow-going. It was almost like my creative brain was a bit rusty and getting used to it. But I persisted. It was a draft after all.

I’ve continued this habit now every single day {except Sundays} and in that time – I have managed two short story drafts. One is 1800 words and the other has reached 2010 words. Are they good? I don’t think so. But they are written and I can edit them now. It also feels like a lot more than I have written in 2020. As an added bonus, I have caught some spectacular sunrises as well from my balcony.

I know it takes almost three months to form a habit. But if my gym routine has taught me anything, it’s that I can commit to routines and habits. And if I am a morning person, why shouldn’t I take advantage of the time I’m most likely to be productive?

Now that I am able to write again, I am hoping to figure out better writing goals for myself. Even if I do go back into the office a day or two a week, I’m hoping I can continue this routine because, realistically, my workplace is great in terms of flexibility and I could work from 9 to 5 instead of starting at 8:30, thereby giving morning writing time.

I may still not jump out of bed and belt out a song but I have no qualms dragging myself and sitting at the dining table while the cogs in my brain begin to turn.

Do you have a writing routine?

Are you a morning person?

Do share!

***Linking with Leanne and others for the Lovin Life Linky***

Until next time,

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  • Cate@LifeBehindThePurpleDoor
    28 January 2021 at 7:12 am

    I am a morning person. Like you, a sleep in is 7am! I haven’t quite figured out how to have a writing routine, but I think I need to stop making excuses, and just start writing. “Figuring it out” will come once I start.
    Cate@LifeBehindThePurpleDoor recently posted…So Colourful – a bullet journal updateMy Profile

  • Denyse
    28 January 2021 at 11:07 am

    Good on you for making changes like this that work for you,

    I am neither a morning nor a night person these days because “no have to” get up till I want, so can so as I want. Ha. It was a long time of not being like that….around 45+ years.

    About the morning writing. So much is said about the good of letting the words out and I gave Julia Cameron’s writing of Morning Pages a go. No, it was not for me. It was uncomfy too – “must be handwritten”. I learned that I write OK for me…blog wise, keeping a diary on line and sharing with others. I had a lot of writing for purpose in my career so am glad to be free of restraints.

    You are making it work for you and that too is good!! #lovinlife
    Denyse recently posted…Clouds From The Southern Skies. #SundayStills. 12/2021.My Profile

  • Laurie
    28 January 2021 at 11:35 am

    I’m with you, Sanch. I always liked getting up early. When I had 3 little boys at home, it was the only time I could have a few minutes to myself. Then, I used to get up early to swim or run before I went to work. I still love getting up early and getting my day started. Good for you for starting a writing habit in the mornings. I think it is best to get things done early before life gets in the way.
    Laurie recently posted…Three January RunfessionsMy Profile

  • Min @ Write of the Middle
    28 January 2021 at 3:47 pm

    I’m a morning person now too! I used to be a night person but that has changed. I love being a morning person because it is the best and most beautiful time of the day! I don’t write in the mornings though but I do have a morning routine. However, I need to change my morning routine to include a walk! It’s so hot these days that that is really the only time I can fit it in. Late afternoons I’m busy cooking dinner. Wish me luck! xo
    Min @ Write of the Middle recently posted…Gems of ZenMy Profile

  • Christine
    28 January 2021 at 3:52 pm

    I am definitely not a morning person and seem pretty hard-wired to the opposite. Nor do I have a writing habit and am possibly the world’s greatest procrastinator. A deadline, however, as long as it’s imposed by someone else will keep me on the mark.

  • Vanessa
    29 January 2021 at 9:10 am

    I’m a morning person due to habit – as in that’s when I had to get up to get a carpark at the train station (pre-pandemic, at least!). If I didn’t have set work hours I’m really not sure what time of day person I am.

    I still struggle with the daily routine of writing. I understand how it helps some people but I find I go through batch months of writing a lot then not writing a lot. Writing apps and how people track writing seem geared towards the every day and that seems like only one narrow way to me. Maybe it’s the possible adhd thing that I still haven’t booked in to talk to a psych about but is on my to do this year that makes me a batcher not a daily-er.

  • January 2021 Reflections – Sanch Writes
    1 February 2021 at 9:32 am

    […] and some of the book reviews from above, but I also managed to get in a couple of posts on a new writing routine and talking about the things I do alone and enjoying my own […]

  • Vanessa
    2 February 2021 at 10:33 am

    I forgot to add – I’m glad it’s not just me that ends up associating a thing with work and then finding it hard to do a non work thing on it.

  • Tulika
    2 February 2021 at 6:37 pm

    This makes amazing sense Sanch. I have been struggling to get into a writing routine of some sort too. And mornings really do work for me but, let me just say this, “I am not a morning person’. However, I have noticed that if I manage to get to bed in decent time I do manage to wake up by 6. Also, I realise now after going through your post that I need a fixed place to sit. Shall work on it.
    Tulika recently posted…Growing up togetherMy Profile

  • Leanne+@+Deep+Fried+Fruit
    4 February 2021 at 7:37 am

    I was a morning person for YEARS and YEARS. 5am was my space before the kids or husband woke,. Time to myself to eat breakfast, watch TV, go for a walk before they all emerged and needed my attention, and before I then had to head to work. Then dawn became my writing space when I started blogging. Always at dawn. Still is! My TV turns on at 5.30am every day (that’s my alarm) and I either blog or write my comms for the local soccer club, then I go for my walk and then head to work. During COVID isolation and the whole work-form-home thing last year, I started to get lazy and started to find it difficult to bound out of bed. I became a not-a-morning-person girl. So I’ve had to retrain myself. I’m slowly getting back to being all early bird and loving it again though.
    Leanne+@+Deep+Fried+Fruit recently posted…The first jobMy Profile

  • Vinitha
    14 February 2021 at 1:45 pm

    Isn’t that awesome! Congrats on finishing your writing pieces, Sanch!

    I am a morning person. In 2020 I used to wake up at 5 am to get some writing done. It was so nice. That was the only time I got to myself as the house was otherwise filled with noises and people due to the covid situation. Now I am trying to make sleep a priority as I am going through some health issues. Now I am trying to write at 6, but my little guy is waking up around that time. Perhaps I should give him some sleep medication so that I can get back to my writing ritual. 🙂
    Vinitha recently posted…Fiction Monday – 32My Profile

  • Shalzmojo
    18 February 2021 at 11:35 pm

    First of all let me tell you how good it is to see your familiar blog- I have missed it a lot 🙂 I hear you on the responses to being a morning person. I would say I am one too though I was more productive in my younger days than now when I hit the snooze a million times and get up when the maid rings the bell at 6.45 am. This is one reason I have her come around early as I tend to laze too much in bed. But I wake up at 5 am every morning, be it a holiday or vacation time. My body clock is wired so.

    I should take a leaf out of your book and do my writing in the early hours too – I have been meaning too and now I am tempted by the webminar. Please share the link if its still on – I will def check it out as I need to incorporate writing back into my sched.

    I am in awe of your writing effort so far and hope to read the stories soon. All the best with continuing with the routine and happy writing!! XOXO
    Shalzmojo recently posted…The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak | Book Review |My Profile

  • Shalzmojo
    18 February 2021 at 11:35 pm

    First of all let me tell you how good it is to see your familiar blog- I have missed it a lot 🙂 I hear you on the responses to being a morning person. I would say I am one too though I was more productive in my younger days than now when I hit the snooze a million times and get up when the maid rings the bell at 6.45 am. This is one reason I have her come around early as I tend to laze too much in bed. But I wake up at 5 am every morning, be it a holiday or vacation time. My body clock is wired so.

    I should take a leaf out of your book and do my writing in the early hours too – I have been meaning too and now I am tempted by the webminar. Please share the link if its still on – I will def check it out as I need to incorporate writing back into my sched.

    I am in awe of your writing effort so far and hope to read the stories soon. All the best with continuing with the routine and happy writing!! XOXO
    Shalzmojo recently posted…The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak | Book Review |My Profile