The Reluctant Early Bird

It’s been a real struggle to get back into the writing groove over the past couple of weeks. The good news is that I’ve finally figured out what I need to do to get things rolling again creatively: time, focus, and energy.

The bad news is that I have none of those things.

I realized that the key is time: if I could carve out an hour during which I would face a minimum of interruptions, I could focus. I finally made my peace with the fact that until the Peanut starts going to bed around 8:30 pm or so (and when that will be, I can only dream), I will not be able to get any serious writing done after work, and even if I could, I would most likely be exhausted anyway. My energy level is at its highest when I first get up, naturally. Ergo, the best time for me to write is before work.

Of course, the time between waking up and punching in at the office is hectic — get up, get showered, wolf down breakfast, get the kid up, get the kid to daycare, get to work. No time to write for ten minutes, let alone an hour.

I decided that my only solution is to rise when the Missus wakes up to do her various mommy duties before she has to drive off to her own white collar hell. If she can drag herself out of bed, then so can I: the buddy system worked like a charm on Boy Scout camping excursions and school field trips, so it should work just as well for my marriage, right?

Trouble is, she gets up at 4:50. Every damn morning.

Ugh.

The Missus likes to remind me that way back at the beginning of our relationship, I told her that I would turn her into a morning person. Well, turns out that I was right, though I suppose I had to knock her up to do it. And now I miss the woman who wouldn’t wake up before double digits unless she had to.

ANYWAY, I guess that for as long as I can crawl out of bed and pump myself full of coffee before I drift back into a coma, I’ve got my writing hour. Now I have no excuse to not get my shit together… at least for the time being. I’m sure I’ll come up with something sooner or later.

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7 Comments on “The Reluctant Early Bird”


  1. A woman who won’t wake up before double digits. Ha! I love that.
    I will now think of my natural self this way even though with a 2 and a half year old in the household those days are a distant dot in the rear view mirror.

  2. William Says:

    I hear ya, guy. I hear ya. It’s actually getting easier in some ways and more difficult in others. We have our M.O. down to a science. The day to day is covered. My lady and I are a team and that is definitely the only way this family thing can work. Physically, I’m a basket case and so is she. Between our sleep being interrupted (we’re in the process of dropping a night feed for the boy, it’s not going well), work for her, stay-at-home dad for me, and all the extra choirs and stuff we’re pretty exhausted. I do have to say I have gotten my mind to function a lot better. When he was born I was in a serious panic that I would never be able to form a sentence much less connect the dots of a screenplay. I’m currently at the outline stages of a new spec and it is actually taking form and I’m pretty excited about it.

    A few key things I found help — a) You can’t write when you are stressed. Well, you can but it will suck. b) Carry a notebook with you all the time. Now that finding time is so problematic you will probably get some good ideas and the worst times in your day. Not to mention your mind is pretty taxed. Write it all down for later or it’s lost forever. A line of dialogue. A logistical fix in the second act. WRITE IT DOWN. c) Cut yourself some slack. I found that the giving myself the room to develop this story has actually made it easier for me. I was stressing about not writing for 8 hours straight when my boy was at day care two days a week. It’s not productive. Granted, when producers are breathing down your neck you don’t always have that luxury. I’ll cross that bridge.

  3. WriterDad Says:

    Third World Girl — happy to be of service!

    William — thanks for the advice! Good stuff. I’m definitely trying to cut myself some slack (not TOO much), but yeah, in a weird way I definitely miss the producers breathing down my neck with the Wedding Comedy — if nothing else, that was an excellent incentive to find the time to churn out the pages. By the way, I’m coming to realize that the Missus and I are blessed or something, ’cause the Peanut goes to bed around 10 or 10:30 p.m. now and will sleep through until 6:00 or so, six nights out of seven. I’m praying that won’t change…

  4. Désirée Says:

    I understand your problems so well. But as you say yourself: only you can change the situation. One trick is to find the things to kick-start your creative flow so you get started quicker. For me, it is reading through my notes for the scene I’m about to write.

    Another trick is not to listen to your brain that may screem “I can’t”. Of course you can.

    Would you like to add my blog to your blogroll? http://writerofmoviescripts.blogspot.com/

  5. WriterDad Says:

    Desiree, thanks for the encouragement! Rereading is a good trick. I’ve also adopted the John August method of scribbling out a bare-bones version of a scene at first, just to find the shape. That often helps me jump-start things.

    I’d be happy to add you to my blogroll — there are a bunch of URLs that I’ve been meaning to add lately and I’ve been either too busy or too lazy to finally do it.. hopefully this week!

  6. K. Says:

    I’ve heard it from a few writer friends over the years that writing first thing in the morning – straight out of bed, when the mind is still fertile from dreamland is the most creative time to write, even if it’s just scribble.

    Maybe try and do some casual scribbles as soon as you wake in the morning, and then look at them with fresh eyes later in the day when you sit down for your writing time.

    Hope you find some time to write soon sir.

    K.

  7. WhatACard Says:

    Dude, are you still updating this thing? Oh, what, you have real writing to do? 🙂 Anyway, I left you an award on my blog. Don’t feel like you need to perpetuate it by posting it yourself…just wanted to let you know I enjoy your blog. You know, when you actually post anything 😉


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