Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Oh God, how did this happen? I might be a morning person...

I've never been a morning person. My mom knew when I was a little kid, just don't speak to me. That's been changing over the past couple of years. The first inkling I had that I could possibly convert to the dark side (the happy, bright-eyed bunch of weirdos who truly enjoy getting up before the sun) was doing my first #Whole30 program. I won't even lie; it was strange. Without carb hangovers, needing daily antihistamines, and gluten-fog, I was waking up before my alarm. Not in a oh-my-God-why-can't-I-sleep kind of way, but in a hey-I'm-ready-to-start-my-day-let's-do-this way. I promise you, that had never in the history of me happened.

And, oddly, it was cool.

I've been working with business coach since May of 2017, and while I primarily decided to hire a coach for our dog training business, I also tacked on the curve ball of telling the coach, "Hey, I'm also going to publish three books next year, can you help me be accountable?" He was game.

Somewhere around September of 2017, my coach, Dave Garcia, and I had a conversation wherein I was lamenting my psychological issue surrounding setting aside time to write. Writing was extra. Writing did not food put on my table. So I felt guilty doing it, when I could be doing some productive. (So original, amiright?)

He asked how writing time made me feel. That was easy. It made me feel refreshed, accomplished...happy. He asked if writing, instead of viewing it as something superfluous, might be something more necessary. He had my attention. I'd never thought of it that way.

Then he asked me if maybe setting aside writing time, instead of viewing it as a burden might be considered a boon to other areas of my life. If, ultimately, giving myself the gift of writing time would make me a happier person, a more attentive wife, a more focused business owner.

Yes, to all the things. My husband would comment about how much happier I was when I'd had time to write. It was a very noticeable difference.

All of a sudden, an internal switch flipped and I decided that I had to make writing a priority. But when?

Along with coaching, I'd been doing a good amount of self-development reading. The Miracle Morning, The Power of Full Engagement, Extreme Ownership, among others. I think around the time I was having the 'can I really give myself permission to write' conversation, I was reading The Power of Full Engagement. In short, I had been telling myself to write at night. Close up the business shop at a reasonable hour, and give myself the evening. This just wasn't working, and I was getting frustrated with myself with my 'will power' problem. I had the time. I just wasn't using it.

Full Engagement is about recognizing that humans have natural ebbs and flows of energy and just because you set aside family time after a twelve hour work day, doesn't mean your family time is going to be good time. That's what was happening with setting aside writing time at night. I was already sapped. My energy was gone for the day, my mind was swirling with business. So what other options did I have? Getting up earlier....pfft. No way. That's straight up crae-crae. Immediate dismissal of the idea.

But then I considered it. Really considered it. I wanted to write. I needed more time to work on launching a second career as an author. And what I was doing wasn't working. Like, at all. So, what the hell, I'd try it. I'd get up early the next morning and try to write in the morning. If it didn't work, it was easy enough to reset the alarm.

Except, when my alarm went off at the disturbingly early time of 7:15 am the next morning (no judgement, I own a dog training business, we work later hours... and that's the story I'm sticking to) Anyway, the alarm went off and I was happy, excited. It felt almost illicit, this hour and a half block of time I'd carved out just to write. Hubby definitely wasn't up. Even the dogs were like...what the eff are you doing, I'm going back to bed. Also... my mind wasn't yet embroiled in all the business stuff, at any rate, the office wasn't even open. I left my phone on my bedside table, didn't even touch it to check notifications. It was just me and my story.

The morning time was productive. Beyond. That, and by giving myself a creative outlet, it didn't deplete my energy. It renewed it. I was managing my energy. The irony? After a day of work, I was way more likely to have more left over at the end of the day to continue writing. And if I didn't, well then, it was ok because I'd gotten a bunch accomplished in the morning. Gone was the guilt at not doing what needed to be done. In short, it was freaking awesome and probably ranks as one of the best decisions I made last year. My alarm is now set for 6:30 Monday through Friday, and I've honestly considered going to 6:00 am. This morning time is fast becoming something sacred to me.

It's January now. Start of a new year. I've been doing this morning routine consistently for a couple months. I completed a draft of the third book in my series at 105k words doing this morning routine. I've worked on some indie author stuff. I've written blog posts and started a short story. It's been the most productive few months of my writing life. And I did it all before 9:00 am.

Pretty soon I may have to admit the truth: I've converted.

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