As a writer with a day job and a laptop full of slowly progressing novels, a lot of my time is split between wishing I had more time to write and wasting time I could be writing. In particular, I angst about evenings.
Arriving home from work means an extended stretch of time with near-zero responsibilities, and the only remaining item on the day’s agenda is the always put-off-able bedtime. Yet, I hardly ever write in the evening. Why am I squandering all those lovely hours? I’ll be offering up a few reasons why, but even as I type, I’m hearing the advice of a thousand writing craft articles and the 30,000 writing bloggers who’ve come before me say: So what. Write anyway.
I’ve tried. Probably not hard enough. But, at least, often enough to know: nope, certain situations and particular hours of the day are not creative high points for me.
Evenings writing sessions don’t work for me. It’s not just the post-workday brain drain, or my habit of grinding on the causes of post-workday brain drain. Or all the usual time-gobbling culprits: dinner prep, laundry, CW network Cape shows, harassing the husband for back rubs. They contribute, of course. And I’ve got a thousand other reasons ranging from ok, that’s legit to full-on bullshit.
There’s a part of me that’s totally convinced that my unwillingness to *make* myself write in the evening is why I am currently unpublished, know-nothing me instead of living my best literary life (which I am certain includes beachside mimosas and deep literary conversations with Chris Hemsworth). But there’s a louder, stronger part of me that knows I write scads in the morning, and I write well in the morning, and I do neither when trying to write in the evening.
More than that, when I write in the morning, I’m pumped. Both in my creative spaces, and in my outlook for the rest of the day. At night, it’s scraping the bottom of an already scraped-clean barrel, and then trying to go to bed with unresolved plot holes and clumsy sentences on my mind.
And so, rather than setting schedules or ultimatums for myself, or using a ton of mental energy to make myself write in the evening, I decided to cut a deal. I show up in the morning for writing sessions. Between 6 a.m. or so and 8a.m. I am in front of my keyboard. In the evening, my creative responsibilities are support services. I do the work that makes those morning, pre-dayjob sessions possible. I fuel my car on the way home from work so I don’t have to lose 15 minutes of a.m. writing time. I prepare the next day’s lunches and work outfits. I re-fill the creative well with CW network cape shows and reading and conversation.
I’m still not producing as much writing as I’d like to be, but I know I maximizing my opportunities to write during my best hours has resulted in more (and better) output than previous attempts at forcing myself to write in the hours when I am at low ebb.