Writing first thing

I seem to have discovered, much to my surprise, that I’m one of those people who need to get a little writing done first thing in the morning. I’ve resisted this idea for ages; it always seems to be couched in terms of getting up before dawn to write for a few hours. That ain’t me. But writing first doesn’t have to mean before the sun comes up.

For a long time, I had settled on 10 am to 1 pm as my Official Designated Writing Time. For a while that worked pretty well, just not consistently. I ran into trouble whenever there would be someplace to go or something that had to be done or some other excuse. So I would write a little extra early, or write a little at the end of the day, and feel guilty that I hadn’t written more. Even when I had the time free, all too often 10 am would slip past and when I finally noticed it was 10:30 and I wasn’t writing, I would feel guilty — but still not start writing. And then the next thing I knew it would be practically noon, so finally I would pull up the file and poke at the story, and when I was done — no matter how much I had written — still feel guilty. Arg!

The worst part was the nasty habit of checking my email first thing in the morning. You know what sorts of rabbit holes that leads to. Finally it hit me: If I’m awake enough to check my email, I’m awake enough to look at the story I’m working on. I’m awake enough to replace the habit of checking my email with the habit of writing. I’m awake enough to show my backbrain that, yes, the writing really is what comes first.

So for the last week, that’s the plan. When I get up, I sit at the computer, set a timer for five minutes and write. Just write. So far, it seems to be working pretty well. Some days I keep writing more than five minutes. Generally, I come back to the story and write even more.

There’s just one problem: The cats have their own ideas of what comes first. What really happens is the cats get me up to feed them. And I watch to make sure the evil one doesn’t eat the sweet one’s food. And I let the evil one out. Then I set a timer for five minutes and write.


2 responses to “Writing first thing

  1. That’s a great idea. I always check my email first thing in the morning, and before I know it, it’s time for lunch. I should get in the habit of writing before I check email and start my day.