My best time to write is in the morning. I find myself least bothersome at that time. There’s nothing to distract me. No traffic noise, no emails, no text messages. I don’t get caught in the constant streams of news & information.
The moment I meet someone (a roommate or family member), my peaceful state is broken. I am no longer in touch with my creative mind that makes my work possible. I can’t go on with my own train of thoughts because my mind is busy processing other thoughts.
I also like to write after wake-up because then my inner critic is less present. I am yet fully awake, so I don’t care much if what I put down is good or not. I just write for the sake of writing, to set my thoughts free, to get rid of all the things that bother me. I don’t have to go back to fix spelling or grammatical mistakes. I’m not even tempted to rewrite a poorly written sentence. I can detached myself from the self-critic that gets in my way of finishing the first draft.
The truth is whenever the self-critic shows up during my first draft, the outcome is never good. I don’t feel too pumped up to write anymore. Writing becomes more like a burden, something I must do out of obligation, not free will. And for that reason, it’s not fun no longer. Then everything I write is trash. Writing isn’t just about communicating an idea. It’s also about getting in touch with your audience emotionally. When I don’t have fun writing, it means I don’t like what I write. And if I don’t like my own writing, how can I ask other people to like it?
I want to write in the morning, but not every time I can bring myself to do it. There are days when I spread myself too thin. Having worked so hard the entire day, I want to make up for all the fun I’ve missed out on in the evening. So I indulged myself in movies, Youtube videos to past midnight. As a result, I wake up very late the next day. By the time I get out of the bed, distractions have already dominated the scene, and I no longer have the peace I need to write.
Besides, I find it hard to stay committed to something for long. I started out with an eager heart, but when obstacles show up, I go back to my own way and abandon the existing efforts altogether.
Many times I’ve tried to develop a habit of rising early to write and many times I’ve failed. But from these failures, I learned a few lessons.
The most important of all is to stop spreading yourself too thin. As I’ve shown in my personal example, if you worked too hard during the day, the evening is your only time to let your hair down. You’re most likley to do anything to make up for all the fun you’ve missed out. You may end up surfing the net until very late at night.
Choose 1-3 major projects to work on each day and set a deadline for your work. For example, if your deadline 6 p.m., when it’s time, call it a day even if you haven’t finished your work yet. After 6 p.m., you’re free to do whatever you like: watch movies, take a walk, play a guitar, hang out with friends, etc. This way, you’ll no longer crave the “last minute” entertainment before sleeping. You can drift peacefully into your slumber at 11 p.m., enjoy a full 8 hours of sleep and wake up fresh tomorrow at 6 a.m.
Before going to sleep, don’t fill your head with thoughts. You have the whole day thinking about your stuff, why spend late evening, the time when you’re supposed to rest, thinking as well? You’re not likely to solve your problem anyway. The best way to get rid of your streams of thoughts is close your eyes, ocus on your breathes orthink about something happy during the day, then slowly let all go and allow your mind to shut down.
Also, it might help to set your alarm clock to your desired wake up time when you first started out. Your body clock is yet adapted to the routine yet. You may go to bed early, but still wake up the same time as when you sleep late.
Finally, take it easy. Don’t feel discouraged if you slip out of the commitment once in a while. It happens. Just forgive yourself and keep trying. Meanwhile, be happy with what you do.