Wednesday, July 10, 2013

5 a.m. Words

Today I realized a somewhat crazy statistic: at least 60% of my WIP has been written between the hours of 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. That's right. Those hours are not like the tooth fairy. They actually do exist.

Though I am what most people would call a "morning person," I don't enjoy getting up ridiculously early. On a typical weekday, my alarm goes off at 4:36 a.m. The process then goes something like this:
  1. Contemplate throwing alarm clock out window (realize this would take too much energy)
  2. Lie in bed, listening to just one song (hate radio stations who play "Apple Bottom Jeans" at 4:36 a.m.)
  3. Lie in bed, listening to just one more song (seriously, this time)
  4. Force self out of bed and into the shower (tripping over the cat is optional, but likely)
  5. Shower (errors may include stepping into shower while still wearing at least one article of clothing, using body wash instead of conditioner, etc.)
  6. Get dressed (chances of clothes matching: slim to none)
  7. Gulp coffee (burn mouth)
  8. Write
So why do I put myself through all of that? Why don't I just write in the evening? Simple. Because when I try to write in the evening, it goes something like this: 
I'll just check Pinterest real quick before writing. Ooo, that looks like a fun DIY project. But I would need lumber. Where does one buy lumber? A hardware store? I should search for the nearest hardware store. Why are they called hardware stores anyway? Twitter will know. I'll ask Twitter. Oh, look! 3 people tweeted. Oh, look! 4 more people tweeted. Oh, look! 1 more person tweeted. Wait, what was I doing? Pinterest. Right. That recipe looks delicious....
Before I know it, the day is gone and my word count is 0.

But if I'm going to get out of bed 2 hours before I need to? I'm not going to waste time on Pinterest. I'm not going to let time pass with nothing to show for it. I'm going to work. As a result, my morning word counts are typically high.

Plus, there's something magical about writing while it's dark and the rest of the world is asleep. It's quiet and calm in a way that doesn't exist the rest of the day.

I know what you're going to say. But Erin, I can't get up that early. My "writing" would look like hgdffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff because I'd end up doing this:

I get it. For you, my dear keyboard sleeper, here are some 5 a.m. writing tips:

  • Check in on Twitter with #5amwritersclub. There's an entire group of supportive people who will write with you. For me, the accountability and camaraderie are huge.
  • Coffee. Tea. Diet Coke. Caffeine. 'Nuff said.
  • Find a friend. Once a week, I try to meet up with one or two of my local writing friends. We're usually at the coffee shop by 6:30. It's my favorite morning of the week.
  • Invest in one of those alarm clocks that runs away from you.
  • Remember, this isn't time that you have to write. This is time that you get to write. Attitude is everything.
Try it for a week. Or even a day. You might like it.

And while you're at it, pass the coffee.


  1. Yay #5amwritersclub! And great post.

  2. I am SO with you on this. I'd say even closer to 80% of my writing/revision happens first thing. I just don't have the brain power at night, so I kind of need to devote my alert-brain to where it's most needed. So glad we're #5amwritersclub friends! :-)

  3. Ahhhh, I'm finally reading this 3 years later after you post it. If only I knew about the shower thing, that would've made all the difference for me. If I wake up early for the shower, I'd be more alert when it came to typing actual words that make sense. Thanks Erin. I still think we should start a new hashtag #TipsFromErin. It'll fly. I'll use it often. :)