I used to come home from work tired, and try to sit down and focus on my stories. It didn’t work. If I was lucky, I’d get in a couple scenes per week. It just wasn’t an efficient routine. I finally reached a point of frustration. Things just weren’t happening, and what little they were happening it wasn’t fast enough. Writing a novel at that pace felt like a joke. It was going to take the rest of the year. That’s unacceptable.
As I was glowering in frustration, I remembered those odd times I’d go to sleep about 11:00PM and wake up around 5:30AM. When I wrote, it was like a lightning strike. Waking up fresh to the new day, bursting with creative energy, awake before everyone else — there’s nothing like it. The early bird gets the worm.
Musing upon these things I remembered another phrase, advice often given in personal finance.
Pay yourself first.
Most people pay bills their whole lives. Our lives are a lifetime of bill-paying. There is no finish line. After you pay all your bills there simply won’t be anything left for you. And if there’s never anything left after bills how can you save or plan for retirement? Pay yourself first.
I’ve found the same applies to time in my day, how much time I get, and what quality of time gets devoted to writing. When I get home at night, the time left available isn’t much. And it’s the lowest quality of time I could possibly give my writing. So I’ve decided to pay myself first. I’ve been getting up early and putting some writing into the bag before work, and even before breakfast. Put on a pot of coffee and go. A scene or three in the morning is the only way to make a dent.
Pay yourself first in the morning.