Prompt: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?
At some point, it became necessary to address that coming home from work and writing was not working.
I mean, I did all right. I would say that I was averaging about 3 nights a week, with 2 solid hours devoted to the novel. But every time I sat down, it was such a struggle. It felt like a struggle to even get in the chair, let alone lift my weary arms and dive back into a story I’d immersed myself in for about a year.
At some point, I took a very hard look at the situation and asked myself if there was maybe a better way. Less distractions, a solid block of time every day. And it struck me what I had to do.
Many, many people do this and I wonder if it’s easier for them than it is for me. Because when the alarm goes off at 5:30, all I can think about are those commercials of the people at the gym at 4, 5am with their hair sticking up and their eyes all bleary. “Who are these insane people?” I’d mutter to myself from the comfort of my couch. It looked horrible. I couldn’t fathom there was ever a good enough reason to wake up earlier than was absolutely necessary. Sleep is a miraculous thing. I’ve often thought that I’d willingly forgo having my own babies if it means getting to keep my sleep.
So I was more shocked than anyone that it’s actually working.
One hour in the morning before work. One hour, just me and my computer and an unconscious dog at my feet. One hour in the semi-darkness, daylight poking through the blinds, a steaming cup of tea perilously close to my keyboard, the spare little heater running in the corner. One hour to dive into a world of my own creation, to say hi to friends I made out of clay and wishful thinking, with no emails and no phones ringing. Everyone else in the house is asleep.
It sounds a lot nicer than it feels. On some mornings, I am so godawful tired that I sit in my chair and nod off. Nod and wake myself up and type. Nod and wake myself up and type. The next day I’m liable to come back and find that I’ve strung nonsense words together. Or used a word like “robust” where I meant, well, something decidedly NOT robust.
But. I don’t think of that morning as a wasted exercise, another morning I could’ve slept for just one. more. hour. I actually don’t. I shrug and tell myself that waking up yesterday meant it was just the tiniest bit easier to wake up today. And at the end of this mammoth second book, I’m sure I’ll reserve a space in the acknowledgments for this godawful early morning hour. Who could’ve seen that coming?