Writing & Working

There are only so many minutes in the day. In the past, I have been the kind of writer who, when teaching, can’t get much creative work done. All my energy goes into my classes. But through the years, I figured out that if I write first thing in the morning, I get so much more done.

Morning is not magic time for everybody. My friend Martha writes at night when her house is quiet. (She’s got two young boys.) But for me, as my day wears on, I get less creative. I watch Oprah or Barefoot Contessa, cook dinner, clean up the kitchen, maybe read a book or magazine or catch a new episode of Bones or Big Love or House. (How hilarious was Wilson’s proposal?!)

But in the late afternoon and evenings, I don’t write, I don’t plan lessons, I don’t practice yoga or walk on my treadmill. Those things I need to do early in the day, say before two o’clock, or I don’t do them at all. Usually morning is my best time for meditation, too, but since I’m doing the challenge, if I forget earlier, I will do that later in the day. And sometimes I have to do emergency schoolwork at night.

Today is my first day back to class. I have a bit of nervous energy around this semester in particular. I’m not working at night, (No creative writing, darn it!) and I’m working four days instead of the usual two. And in a switch I made last year, all of my classes are in the morning. Yep. My prime writing time turns out to also be my prime teaching time. My favorite yoga sessions are in this window too. Early morning meditation. Somehow, I have to fit a big huge thing like teaching into my morning routine.

It was fairly easy with just teaching two mornings. I wrote the other five days. I took yoga classes on Friday or the weekend. I didn’t meditate so much. But now, I want to fit it all in. And I think I can do it. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I only have one class, from 11-1. It’s a diffiuclt class to teach, a new text for me, and the students need a ton of individualized help with their writing, so I’m not saying it will be a snap.

But I get up early, by six most days, and this morning, it’s only 8:40 and I’ve already meditated (felt so great to do that first thing, even before writing!) and then wrote two scenes on the WIP. And it’s not even nine o’clock yet! So I think I can do this. I’m just making a minor adjustment to my usual morning routine.

However, I’ll be doing a lot more planning and paper checking this term. It’s one more class, but it’s double the work of most other classes. (Pays more too, so that’s a plus.) I absolutely know I can do it, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m determined not to spend my mornings before class rushing around getting the lesson together. I want to be more prepared than that, but who knows? I could get overwhelmed. 

One thing I know for sure: I WILL finish this WIP by mid-March. And I will send it to agents and editors. If nobody bites, I’m going to publish the romance trio in an alternative venue, just like I said I would last year. I’m not sure what, but something’s going to happen. Soon.

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  1. There was a time when I was such a morning person… for better or for worse, that time is long since over. I find my brain actually doesn’t work until some time in the afternoon and that it is really on fire by night. Infact I get most of my best work done when everyone else in this house is sleeping.


  2. This post motivated me to take a serious look at how I structure, or don’t, my days and think about what I’d like to accomplish and how I can make that happen. I love your “get it done” attitude. Hope your semester is off to a good start.


  3. John, I used to be a night person (I was a bartender and didn’t even get off work until 3 or 4 am, then I’d come home and vacuum!) so it must change through life. And the trick as you know is to recognize it and adjust your schedule according to what works best with your current rhythms.


  4. Sharon! My first class yesterday was lovely. We’ll see how the semester progresses but I got a good vibe. And I love the stuff I’m teaching. Plus, I realized I have an almost two hour window M/W between classes that will allow me to get all (or most) of my school work done at school. Yay!


  5. Cindy – that’s great! Things always seem crazy in the beginning but once you get a good look – they settle right into place.

    John – “In fact I get most of my best work done when everyone else in this house is sleeping.”

    Yep. Yep. Yep. I agree with you. Once the kiddos are knocked out (of course, I speak metaphorically – *grin*), I get to work and keep at it usually until 1 or 2 am. It’s like my creative self kicks into gear when the noise level sinks below a certain point.


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