I am not a morning person. Never have been. In fact, from the day I was BORN, I have been keeping my mother company in the world of Night Owls, and have always enjoyed sleeping in in the morning. Right now it is 5:30 AM… I got up at 5. At about 4:30 I woke up and was just WIDE AWAKE. I thought I would try to get up, and then when I felt tired again, I would go back to bed. Well, it’s not working. So I figured I’d do a blog post. What the heck, right?
So, for the past three days I have been implementing new tricks and things to help my word counts be what they used to be PFC (Pre Family Crises). So far it has been working. My goal so far is to write 1,000 words per day, which compared to what I used to write, is not that much. And so far, every day, I have made or exceeded that count. This makes me very happy. I feel like a writer again, I feel like I am myself. I am proving to myself that even though I homeschool my son who has some special needs, I can be a whole person for myself too, which is extremely important. And I can have a clean bathroom while maintaining a decent word count. That is important too :).
When my son was born, I was able to write as I pleased. I wrote more then than I ever had (other than in college, when I didn’t really sleep. I think I went three years without more than four hours a sleep per night..). I attribute it to hormones. While my son napped, I wrote, and when he was in bed “for the night” I wrote until he woke up hungry at 2AM. Then I would nurse him and go to bed. Then, other than random wakings at about 5 or so, I would get up with him at about 8 and carry on. I could write upwards of about 5,000 words a day. That was the best thing—writing that much really helped me, even if most of it was junk, find my voice, find what was interesting to me. Almost all those words were experimentation, getting ready. It wasn’t until my son was about 1, or seven years ago, that I began thinking, “Hey, I can do this professionally…”
Then… My son started to get older. He took fewer naps. He stopped nursing so the wonder woman hormones went away and I started to get tired again. We started looking at buying a house. SO my word counts plummeted. But I was still writing. It was all good, and I didn’t really mind.
Then… Well, LIFE started happening in a big way. All kinds of family crises, sickness, death, and other various tragedies. And I began to feel clogged. Clogged and drained at the same time, which is not a pleasant state at all.
The worst thing about that state is that you get desperate. I was desperate to find the answer, so I looked outside of myself, to what worked for everyone else. And I tried it all. None of it worked. Everyone had answers, everyone had these foolproof plans of what to do when resistance hit. I tried every last one of them. NOTHING WORKED. Until one day, I woke up and said, “What am I doing? This is not me! I am not this anal retentive person who plans every second of the day, who has to have 10AM snack time, 11 AM sewing time, 1 PM writing time. I’ve never been a box type, boxes give me claustrophobia and make things worse. But I couldn’t see that. All I could see was that nothing was working, and I was panicked.
So, I decided to let go. I went back to seven years ago, and I said, “What DID work for ME?” Just me, no one else. What worked before I started taking myself too seriously. Well, it was having a very visual goal (like my goal status bar I have now in Scrivener, my favorite writing program), not with numbers but with an actual thing where I could see my progress in a physical way (it’s an ADHD thing). Also, I have to work in bursts. I can’t say, “1 PM is my designated writing time.” That does not work for me. All day is my writing time. When I have the goal and status bar set, I can tell how much I have to work. If I get that done by the time my husband gets home, I can relax and watch a movie with him at night. If not, then I work into the night. During the day, I help my son learn, I do some housework, make meals, and in between, I write. If my son wants to play for a while, I take a break. I go back to it when I can. Fifteen minutes to a half hour of intensive concentrated writing is what works for me. That’s how I write first drafts.
My point here is, there are as many different ways of writing as there are people in the world. You are the only one who writes exactly like you. Don’t throw your methods out because someone else is “right.” Sure, give other things a try, while you are still going through the writing process. But don’t give up on yourself and your own methods too. Your subconscious probably knows what works best for you, and it comes naturally.
And now, good night! Or good morning, if you choose to look at it that way…