If you follow me on social media you’ll see that I’m a member of #5amWritersClub.
I get up and start writing at 5am every morning – voluntarily! I know a lot of people find this idea perplexing but it’s the time of day when my creativity is abundant, my thinking has clarity and my motivation to churn through work is high. I set myself a realistic goal to work for an hour and I focus on one task that is at the front of my mind.
I’m not a purist. I use this time to draft, edit, craft, plot, research or anything that adds to my writing journey. But I do keep it to one thing. Throughout the day, my thinking becomes increasingly fragmented and the noise of the world can easily overwhelm me if I don’t allow myself this time to focus and write.
I’ll admit, the winter is tough.
On a dark, cold January morning it’s oh-so tempting to slide deeper under the duvet and promise myself that I’ll catch up with my writing later in the day. But that’s never going to happen. I run my own business which is more than full-time so that hour in the early morning is my precious writing space and I can’t afford to give to anyone or anything. Sometimes I have to bribe myself with the promise of a biscuit with my first cuppa. Whatever it takes.
On weekends, my treat is to let 5am Writers’ Club drift beyond an hour. If I’m really lucky, I can have a whole day of writing. I’m writing this blog at 14.53 on a Saturday afternoon and today has been an indulgent day of writing, pacing and thinking. By starting it off at 5am with words on the page, I feel hugely productive and that spurs me on to write even more.
Tomorrow is less appealing, but I’ll be there for it: editing. I’ve got a complex set of edits needed on the military history I’m writing and it’s been on my to-do list longer than I’d like. So, my plan is to use a week of 5am Writers’ Club slots to break it up into manageable chunks without losing the flow that can happen when you fail to tackle your editing in a short space of time. There will be definitely be a biscuit involved, and my favourite mug. We all have our rituals to help us write (even if we deny it!), and mine is to start 5am Writers’ Club by writing down my dreams, then making tea, then setting about my writing or editing task for the day. This makes it feel much more like a ‘day job’. I know that’s not what a lot of writers want as they prefer to follow their creativity but I’m better if I put boundaries around certain things. Time is most definitely one of them as I will disappear down dark rabbit holes (I had to find my way out of one on how Waddington’s, the board games maker, contributed to World War II the other day!) or grab a shiny new idea all too easily if I allow myself free rein.
What’s your strategy for setting aside time to write? Do you join the #5amWritersClub or have you got another way to make the most of your creative energy and time? Let me know on Twitter @MarvellousMinds and Instagram @MarvellousMindsCreatives with your ideas for maximising your creative output using the hashtag #WritingTips and #ProductivityAndCreativity