Morning Children: A Special Torment to Writers

My husband and I are both night people. We’ve learned to adjust our internal clocks to take into account work and other grown-up responsibilities. While it’s not nearly as hard to get up at 6 am now as it was when I was a teenager, I didn’t have to get up at 6 am on Saturday when I was a teen.

Our oldest child is a morning person. Always has been, and she’s never had a concept of “weekend”. We had to get her a digital clock before she was three so that we could forbid her from leaving her bedroom in the morning before her clock said 6 on it. And yes, she learned numbers early so we weren’t getting up with the sun in the summer. Where there’s a will, there’s a way…

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While I’ve been able to adjust myself to getting up long before a night-person should, I haven’t convinced my muse to join me.

As much as I’ve sat diligently in front of my computer during afternoon nap-time on the weekends, my muse is nowhere to be found. Sure, I can pound out a few words, but it’s not the same. Whether you write, paint, compose music, there’s this creative zone that you get into that allows you to achieve more in an hour than you can in three. There’s something magical about this time. It’s like fairy wings and unicorn farts have jumped into the mortal plane.

For me, this ultra-creative time always, always, always comes after 8 pm. Usually later, but given my current need to be up with the birds, I try to be in bed before 10:30 because 6 am comes around awfully early.

There are those days when inspiration strikes, and I seize upon it, blowing through my bedtime even though I know will pay for it in the morning. And oh do I! Nothing quite like a chipper preschooler bouncing around the house rather than getting ready for school to put your previous night’s choice into perspective.

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Of course, my preschooler isn’t making the beds, eating her breakfast, or getting ready for the day. Heck no!  These are days that she requires the most wrangling. It’s like she knows I’m struggling and chooses that time to drown me rather than throw me a rope. Because children smell weakness and will exploit it at every opportunity.

I wish I had something insightful to offer. Some way that I’ve conquered the muse and brought her to my side before the owls come out. But I haven’t. I still have to make the choice most nights as to whether I’m on a roll and have to keep going, or whether I need to be a grown-up and go to bed. I’d love to say the grown-up wins most nights…

 

How about you? Are you a morning person or a night person? Does it work for you? When do you find yourself most creative? Have you figured out how to get your muse to come on your terms?

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7 thoughts on “Morning Children: A Special Torment to Writers

  1. I’ve learned to write whenever I can. Because I work an 8-5 weekday job, my other full-time job as a writer needs to be done second/third shift and weekdays. It wasn’t a matter of preference, it was need. The situation did make me learn that I can be creative at ANY time I can focus on it, and I take advantage of that to be flexible.

  2. I’m best in the mornings just because I haven’t used up all my capacity to focus and concentrate.

    But mostly I wanted to say that your line about children smelling weakness is the best thing I’ve read all morning. (And I’ve been laying in bed reading all morning!)

  3. Ack. From 4AM on in the morning is my most productive time. It is because for two decades my old day job had me up and working at that time, and I usually had to hussle to get things done. Now that work habit drilled into me pops up as my writing habit. Much like my old day job, regardless of whether I’m half asleep or wide-eyed awake it is the best time for me to crank out words.

    Mamas, never let your babies grow up to be circulation managers. Just saying. 🙂

    Children. For some reason they reach back into their DNA to come up with the most contrary way to interact with their parents. Seeing I was a morning person, of course my children had to be night people and were impossible to get up in the morning. Still are. I was so glad when my youngest boy (at a man sized age 26) finally moved out of the house so I could get some sleep. Mind you that was was some thirty-two years of sleep deprivation (including his older brothers) because someone had to stay up to make sure they didn’t do something dire.

    All I can say is that in a couple decades you may be able to embrace your normal sleep patterns, but by then your need for sleep will have been permanently altered. Gotta love parenthood. Hope you catch some zzzz’s anyway!

  4. I find I’m most creative in the mornings or in the wee small hours. I try to wake up as early as possible but sometimes I just end up reading well into the night and find myself sleeping in…

  5. Definitely a night person but having two children ( who are not adults and also night people!) trained me to be able to function in the morning with a reasonable degree of effectiveness. This did not include being able to access anything like a “muse” however but slogging on worked. Stay the course .

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