Imagine it is five o’clock in the morning. Your alarm goes off. You blink, stretch, throw your legs over the side of the bed and attempt to orient yourself to the day. After a moment or two of taking care of immediate needs, you stumble to the kitchen, fumble with the coffee maker, and wait for the drip-drip-drip to finish so that you can properly caffeinate yourself in preparation for writing.
Yes. Coffee is a very important part of my writing process. From the coffeemaker, I make the 17.5 second commute to my writing room—a converted back porch with three walls of windows, overlooking a very flat soybean field and a potential Ohio sunrise. With my laptop on my lap, the day on the cusp, and my story in the forefront of my brain, I write.
No music. No television. No dog barking. No fanfare.
No one else up to talk to me. Just coffee, laptop, sunrise, and me. And my story. Maybe some birds singing. Birds are okay. Silence, however, is an important part of my writing process.
I like to write when my brain is fresh, when no one else’s words, ideas, sentences, thoughts, influences clutter my head. That’s why 5 AM works. Another reason why the early morning works is that if I can write for 1-2 hours at the beginning of the day, I feel very accomplished all day long. No matter what else happens during my day, I know I have put words to paper (or screen) and I am happy. I have done my writing job.
Happy is also a part of my writing process. Writing under stress is a good way to kill creativity, and a great way to invite writer’s block. (Actually, I do not believe in writer’s block, but that is another post….)
Process. Is all I have described truly part of a writing process? It is for me. I’m a creature of habit, and my writing habits are important for my process. Believe me, I’ve been at this a long time. I have configured writing time around flights, day jobs, kids, divorce, soccer games, vet visits, vacations, power failures, and more. 5 AM works. It is a habit born out of years of trying to figure out how to best way accomplish meeting a deadline.
Create the habit, whatever it is for you. My 5 AM writing habit it is the thing that gets me up early every morning.
Previously published on Maddie James Author Blog, August 12, 2018.