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The Write Question is a weekly video podcast all about writing. Today’s question? Is it necessary to write in the morning? If you have a question you’d like me to answer you can email me, tweet me @pubcoach, or leave a message for me at the Skype account, The Write Question.
Is it necessary to write in the morning? That’s the topic I’m addressing today in The Write Question. I’m Daphne Gray-Grant, the Publication Coach, still in pandemic mode.
I have a question from Maria Garcia, a writer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Here’s what she’s asked by email…
“I know you often suggest planning to write in the morning but I have some difficulty with that. I have three children who need breakfast and getting off to school. Plus, I have a dog I have to walk. And I also like to be able to fit in 20 minutes of meditation. Would it be okay for me to write later in the day?”
Thanks for your question, Maria. I’ve written a blog post about why I think mornings are the best time for writing. Link is in the show notes, below. But I understand the heavy competition for morning time! All the other tasks you describe — feeding children, dog walking, meditating — are also important and might be harder to postpone.
I share your morning challenge with respect to exercise. I have chronic back pain and I spend the first 30 minutes of every day doing exercises. I will NOT change this part of my schedule no matter what happens. In many ways, it’s more important to me than writing.
One thing I’m also NOT going to do is to tell you to get up earlier, unless you’re already an early morning person. We are all hard-wired to prefer to go to bed and to get up at certain specific times, and trying to change these times is extremely difficult. Sleep is especially important to creativity, so be sure to protect it.
But morning time is valuable for writers because it helps build the writing “habit” with less effort. This is because the things we do without thinking about them – making our beds, brushing our teeth, taking out the recycling – are less painful because we don’t waste any time arguing with ourselves. We just do them.
Building a habit takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days (see link in the show notes) so this might be a long-term commitment. But it’s worth it so you can beat procrastination forever.
If your early mornings are already spoken for, don’t despair. Just try to squeeze in a small amount of writing time as early in the day as possible. Just 15 minutes should do the trick. Feed your kids, walk your dog, meditate first. But after you’ve done that, then do your writing. If this doesn’t occur until 10 am or 11 am, so be it.
Just make sure you do the writing before checking email or listening to the news. Both of these other tasks can really derail your day, so don’t let them take precedence over your writing.
And, by the way, if you think 15 minutes isn’t nearly enough, of course you can work toward increasing that time later. But start with just 15 minutes. One of my current clients emailed me yesterday to say she was (favourably) shocked by how many words she’d been able to accumulate in her daily 15, in just a couple of weeks.
Finally, let me wrap up with the words of the Roman emperor and stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius: “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
Maria, mornings are a fantastic time for accomplishing important tasks! But I can remember when my kids were small, how LITTLE time I seemed to have for myself. Don’t beat yourself up for not having enough morning time. Just do the best with what you’ve got.
If you’d like to learn more about how to make writing a happier and more rewarding process, check out my latest book Your Happy First Draft. I don’t sell it in bookstores or via Amazon. The only place to buy it is on my website, link on the screen below and in the show notes.