I just found this blog post in my drafts. It’s from June 25, 2012. Pretty much a year ago.
Not much has changed. I like to think I’m getting a little better at the carving.
I’m a morning person.
It feels weird to say it — wrong, even. I don’t think we’re supposed to exist. Maybe it helps that I’m not a morning person stereotype: I don’t bound out of bed with a smile on my face at the crack of dawn. Typically, it requires an alarm and a cup of coffee to get me going.
But once I’m going, the morning is awesome. I find it easy to be engaging, creative and productive in the hours between having my first cup of coffee, and getting sufficiently hungry that I need to eat lunch. Once lunch has passed, I become decreasingly productive until evening arrives and any activity I participate in had better not require active use of the brain.
Recognizing this, I used to set my alarm to be the first person in the house to wake up each morning. This would give me the better part of an hour to do things by myself — edit photos, write my blog, and take care of anything that needed taking care of.
But this is a thing of the past. Now Maggie wakes up so early that it is effectively impossible to give me time to myself in the morning. That time to myself is important – no, essential – to any productive creative process I might have.
So writing on the Big Bad Blog has dried up. A new photographic backlog is forming in Photoshop, full of images I have not yet had a chance to edit. And I try to compensate.
Compensation occurs generally in the evening: in search of time by myself, I start to these activities after everybody else has gone to bed. This has two consequences: Crap and exhaustion.
Crap is what I produce when I’m trying to write something at midnight. At best, it means a dozen or more re-writes (which is ridiculous for a blog that used to update ten or more times each week). At worst it means a trip straight to the trash can.
Exhaustion comes from staying up too late. I can get by on six hours of sleep, so it is not too bad. But it means that I miss those rare opportunities when I could have been the first person awake. When I could have time to myself, during the productive part of my day, to write and create.
It also means that I no longer read between going to bed and sleeping. This reduces both the quantity and quality of ideas that pass through my brain, thereby reducing the range of my hobbled creative endeavours.
So I remind myself that all this is temporary. That soon my trouble will be that Maggie is impossible to rouse in the morning. That time for myself in the morning will return.
And in the meantime, the solution is not to stay up until 1:00 failing to write in my blog, but instead to carve out a little bit of time in the morning, on the rare days it is available, and spend some of my productive hours for myself.
Image used in this post is of the Defusable Clock.
The clock can be purchased via that link, but it may not be the best alarm clock to take with you on an airplane.