Most artists have a preferred way to practice their craft. Some people crank up the music. Some people head out to a favorite coffee shop, wrap their fingers around a warm cup ‘o joe and their feet around the metal legs of the chair. I recently read an article about a woman who decided that she should dress up like she was heading to work at an office, because sitting around in her sweats made her feel less motivated. Personally, I could work half naked as long as it’s quiet.
I’m a shut the door and don’t talk to me kinda girl. If you do attempt to talk to me, you’ll more than likely be half ignored or receive a sort of disheartened sigh before I respond with a half repressed this-had-better-be-important expression in my eyes. I need silence. I need to be uninterrupted. I let myself fall backwards into the embrace of the world and characters and I’ve created and despise that whiplash-like feeling of someone popping around to tell me it’s time for lunch (I’ll eat when I’m ready goshfriggindanggit!)
Since moving and all the chaos that goes with that, I’ve had trouble getting back into my daily writing routine. My body likes to set its alarm clock a half hour prior to whenever the alarm clock is set. My husband used to get up at 5, so that meant I was irrevocably awake by 4:30. At which point I would grab my cell to check twitter and CNN. Once Tim was up and about (which was usually after a half hour plus of snooze buttoning), I would flick on the kettle and boot up my laptop. I’d write until about lunchtime (whenever that happened to be) then curl up with a book and read until he came home. I loved this schedule. I accomplished a lot and it suited my low energy introvert lifestyle.
My change of location screwed my habbits. I began to wake up at 8 or 9. I’m not a night person. My brain shuts off around 5pm, so sleeping in screws everything up. I missed my morning pot of tea. I missed my quiet little room on my quiet little street. It’s all still an adjustment.
A few weeks ago, I randomly woke up at 3am, feeling more awake than I did during any of my waking hours that week. I picked up my kindle and read a little bit of “War and Peace,” all the while thinking, I am not going back to sleep anytime soon. My desire to read wained, so I shut off my kindle and laid back down. Everything was quiet. It was utterly heavenly peaceful, that same kind of blissful quiet that I had all day when I was home alone in my little apartment.
It took me longer to figure out how to properly use that time then it probably did for anyone who reads this. Around 3:30 I rolled out of bed, sat down on the floor and started working. I wrote until 6:30, then crawled back into bed and fell asleep from 7 to 9. I used the afternoon for editing and reading, and by the time I went to bed that night, I had that delicious glowing feeling you get when you know you’ve actually accomplished something with your day.
I’m super thankful for the ability to make my own schedule and it’s looking more and more like my working day can start as early as 3am. Since the construction workers start working on the addition at 7 and the dog invariably throws a fit around 5, it’s probably better this way. 😉
© Rachel Svendsen 2015