The 4 A.M. Writing Experiment: A Tale of Surprise Productivity

I have many friends who claim they do their best writing in the morning, before they have to get ready for work and generally deal with life outside of writing. They drag themselves out of bed at 5, maybe 5:30, bribe themselves with coffee to make sure they snatch an extra himagesour or two before the day drags them away from their keyboards.

I never was that person. In fact, until a little more than a year ago, I was the person who worked all night and felt lucky if she could snatch a few hours of uninterrupted sleep during the day. Five years of that and I had become very protective of my newly found regular sleep schedule, even if that meant getting up at 5:30 in the morning to be ready for teaching and at school by 7.

Anyone who is teaching or has taught before knows just how much brain space teaching likes to consume and how, while you’re still getting your feet wet and figuring things out in the world of teaching, basically the world of writing that used to be part of you comes to a stop.

Fast-forward a year and a half-ish, because you know that story. It’s 4 A.M. on January 29th and I’m starting an experiment with myself, because I realized that writing after teaching is just not happening. In reality, vegging on the couch after teaching is barely happening either. So instead of trying to make room and alertness in my generally full evening calendar, I’ve decided to drag myself out of bed at dark o’clock to get at least a few words in.

10639682_10202570238356609_7024204338369768443_nAnd to my huge surprise, it’s actually working much better than I had anticipated! Sure, those first five minutes after the silent alarm on my wrist vibrates me awake are a little slice of hell, but once I’ve dragged myself out of bed and ran the first cup of coffee through my Keurig, I’m basically good to go. It helps that the house is utterly quiet in the morning, which is a huge writing prerequisite for me. It also helps that my brain isn’t quite “in the teaching zone” thinking about the day’s lesson plans yet.

So far, a week and a half into this (I am taking the weekends off early writing for sanity’s sake), I have managed to write between 400 to 500 words each morning in that elusive hour and a half between 4 and 5:30 in the morning. EMPIRE OF LIGHT 2 is well underway and I think I can officially call this experiment a win.

Thanks, my morning person writer friends. I’m one of you crazies now.