I’m a Night Owl
Granny Beaty was a night owl, or so I’ve been told. She liked to stay up long after everyone else was tucked away in bed. They say she “piddled” – just messed around, doing her own thing. Granny, my great-grandmother, died before I was born. Still, I somehow managed to inherit her night owl, piddling tendencies. (And maybe a smidge of her stubbornness!)
When I still lived at home, my parents were for the most part able to overlook my nighttime piddling. I think I was usually pretty quiet about it, except for those summer nights when a mosquito got into my bedroom. I hate the high-pitched hum of mosquito wings! I would hunt those suckers down with a vengeance. Unfortunately, I have pretty bad aim. I never killed them on my first attempt. It usually took a number of “BAM, BAM, BAM” attacks before I was successful. And yeah, I think maybe I woke them up a few times.
On the other hand, I most definitely have not ever, ever been a morning person. I can get up and go early if I have to, but that doesn’t mean for a minute that I like it. I have friends who love early mornings. I can’t for the life of me figure out what they do at those ungodly hours! Sure, the sunrise is a beautiful thing. I just prefer to wait for the second showing at sunset.
My brain doesn’t wake up before 8 a.m. My body moves pretty well on automatic pilot, but I’m not sure I can form complete sentences before then. In my older teen years, I don’t think anyone in my family had much to say before our good-byes as we headed out the door in our respective directions. When Dad used to take me to school, we did have our silly mornings full of puns. I guess that was approaching 8 a.m., though.
Now my son is the only family member who wakes up ready to go. I think his mouth is moving even before his eyes are open. I beg him some mornings to please wait “just five more minutes” before bombarding me with all-the-things-he’s-thought-about-since-he-was-able-to-talk-to-me-before-bed-last-night-that-really-need-to-be-said-right-this-very-second-or-he-just-might-explode! Phew! His sisters and I are content to nod and grunt at each other until time to head out the door to go our respective directions.
So imagine my horror when I saw today’s 15 Day Writing Challenge.
How do we turn something like belief into action? We don’t. Not yet, anyway. Instead, we marinate.
A wise man once said we are the sum of our conscious thoughts. In other words, we become what we fixate on.
So do just that: Take some time to dwell on the fact that you are a writer. Meditate on it; let it sink in. Write about it, if you want. Do whatever it takes. The important part is you believe it.
And just so you don’t think this is all esoteric, you’re going to do something radical tomorrow. You’re going to get up two hours early and write. If you usually get up at seven, get up at five. If five, then three. You get the idea. Don’t check your email or read blogs. Just write.
This is how you know you really believe something. Thinking and talking and tweeting about writing is one thing; actually doing it is another. So today, believe it; tomorrow, do it. (Don’t worry; I’ll be up with you.)
Until this happens, until you actually believe you are a writer, you’re only kidding yourself. And you’re not doing anybody any good with all this self-doubt. You’re a writer. Not because I say so, but because you do. Start believing it.
He’s kidding, right? This challenge is as hard as yesterday’s challenge, only in a different way. I’ve been mulling over this all day. What is magical about writing first thing in the morning? How is that different from writing late at night? Is setting aside a couple of hours to write after I put the kids to bed any different from stumbling out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to stare stupidly at a blank screen with the eternal “Duh….” echoing in my brain?
The fact is, I don’t really know. I’ve known several writers who do this. My friend (and long-lost cousin) Angie did this for awhile. I don’t know if she still does it. I have a sneaking suspicion that with precious child #3 in the family now, her early morning hours may be dedicated to other things for this season of life.
So will I try it? Honestly, I’m not sure. I truly feel I’m most creative late at night. I’m not as young as I used to be, so working late and getting up early don’t go together very well. So if my writing keeps me up until 11:30 or 12, then I feel like I’ve met the challenge. I’ll go to bed feeling a sense of accomplishment, and my brain will marinate the ideas I carry into sleep.
However, if on one of these nights I fail to be productive, I promise I’ll give the morning writing session a try. Just don’t hold your breath. I really am a night owl!