If we were having coffee, I’d meet up with you in the afternoon. This is unusual since I’ve always scheduled our coffee dates in the late morning so I can spend the afternoon/evening with my WIP because that’s when I write best. But do I really? I’ve been pondering that this week as I experiment with my writing schedule. Instead of running errands, replying to emails and managing Twitter in the mornings, I go straight to work writing.
So how did it go? you ask, with a hint of both skepticism and hope in your voice. You know I have never been a morning person. The rising sun actually makes me grumpy, whereas the setting sun perks me right up. Not for the first time, we both wonder if I’m part vampire. But as a morning person, you believe the crack of dawn is the best time to write. You get so much done before lunch! The feeling of accomplishment is amazing! I envy that. And that’s the reason I’m conducting this experiment – to try to get more writing done.
I never thought of myself as a slow writer, at least not when I’m hired as a freelancer and have a deadline that puts a fire under my butt. I can crank out those words when need be. But a novel is different. There’s no boss to give me direction and feedback, and that leaves me spinning my wheels sometimes as I try all by my lonesome to decide on the best way to tell my story. I attempted to push past that indecision and doubt and just write on, write fast, and that DID NOT work. I ended up scrapping everything I wrote in those moments. The takeaway? It’s not the writing I need to speed up, it’s the story development. So, maybe if I start thinking about my story earlier in the day, the breakthroughs will come sooner than midnight. Makes sense, right?
You agree it does. So have I been converted to the #5amwritersclub? I laugh so hard I spill my tea. 5am – as if! I’m part vampire. “Morning” to me is, like, 9am and not a minute earlier. Okay, fine, how’s 9am working? I admit for novel writing, it’s still very slow. My brain is seriously sluggish in the morning, even after drinking a whole pot of the blackest tea. It feels just like this moment in Orphan Black when Scott asks Rachel if she can go faster and she replies:
One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that I can write blog posts and freelance jobs at a decent clip in the morning — as long as I’ve planned them out the night before. This strategy doesn’t work as well with the WIP, but it helps a bit. What’s clear is that no matter how I try to trick my brain into writing in the morning, it simply operates best in the evening.
Basically, I’m a vampire-turtle hybrid writer.
Instead of crying into my tea, I’ve decided to capitalize on this by always brainstorming before bed what to write the next day. As I said, this works well for blog posts and paid scripts, but not so well for the WIP. If it’s a WIP day and things are not moving, I’ll read a book so I don’t waste time staring at the computer screen. Usually reading unsticks the brain anyway. And it’s productive.
You sip your tea and smile knowingly. You still think if I keep at it long enough I’ll become a true morning writer. But I know this will never happen. Instead, with some pre-bedtime planning and practice, I hope to at least become a vampire-hare hybrid.
If We Were Having Coffee is a blog hop inspired and run by the lovely and talented Diana at Part Time Monster. Please drop by her place for coffee. You can also see what other bloggers are up to by checking out the hashtag #WeekendCoffeeShare on Twitter.