On not being good at mornings

I think it was Melvyn Bragg who said that he used to write between the hours of 5am and 8am before leaving his house to travel to his job in arts broadcasting.  Every day.  And there are many others, whose names I cannot remember, who’ve written about the benefits of writing early in the morning, while the rest of their household is sleeping, and before they start work at an office job or teaching job or some other job which, to me, sounded as if it would need a high level of attention and energy.  Even writing these sentences about such feats of discipline and stamina has made me feel like I need a little lie down.

Left to my own devices, with no job to go to, no appointment to be at, no child to rouse for school, I tend to sleep in until about 7.30 or 8am.  Although It’s not unheard of for me to wake at 5am, or even earlier, make tea, and return to bed where I will happily write, read, and daydream before falling back to sleep at about 7am until about 9am.

What I have never been able to do with any regularity is to spring out of bed at 6am, dive into the shower, dress, eat breakfast, and sit down to write at 6.20am.  For Melvyn Bragg to have started writing at 5am must have meant that he’d been awake since…… I can’t even get my head around it o’clock.

That isn’t to say that I haven’t fantasised about being an efficient early riser and imagined the books I’d write, the languages I’d learn, the yoga positions I’d master if I could only carve out those extra hours in the day.  I’m pretty sure that I’ve read that most highly successful people tend to be early risers.  Good for them…

…and the good news for me is that when I really need to, I can be up with the larks.  I leave the house at 6.45am when I work as Writer in Residence, once a week, at St Gregory’s in Bath so that I can avoid the early morning traffic and be sure of a parking spot in school.  And if I have an early train or plane to catch, I can be relied upon to be on time with all my bags packed.  It’s just the daily, day in, day out slog of early mornings that I’ve never quite got the hang of.

The truth is, I love mornings.  I love the quietness, the gentle light, the sense that anything could happen, the not knowing quite what to expect of the day ahead.  Yes, I’ve slept through a fair number but on the odd occasion when I haven’t, they’ve been delicious in every way.  I like mornings.  I just don’t like leaping inside them, the moment I wake up.  I like them unfolding calmly around me.

How about you and mornings?  Do you have a good relationship?  Do you have a favourite time of the day for writing?

9 thoughts on “On not being good at mornings

  1. jaynestanton says:

    It’s good to hear a kindred spirit where mornings are concerned, Josephine!
    I’m more of a late night writer. I love reading a book at bedtime. And that time just before falling asleep has produced some creative ( and sometimes promising) lines in my bedside notebook.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Heather Walker says:

    I wouldn’t say leap out of bed at 6am. It’s a slow start at least until I get that first cuppa. But I prefer early morning writing. I don’t bother dressing or anything. I’ve been known to write until nearly 11am still in my PJ’s. It’s not that I can’t write at other times it’s just more of an effort to get going and I think inspiration hits while I’m still half asleep!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mike says:

    I always love the morning air…it just like came from another part of world that bring from God to us…morning ini Indonesia…you should try it…the freshes air of the earth came every morning😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lesleyjjackson says:

    I like them “folding calmly around me” too. I think the trick to writing early is to get at it straight away. If you have breakfast and get dressed etc first, you’ve lost the moment between sleep and being properly awake that seems to work for some writers. Me, I’m a night owl. I don’t write much these days but when I was writing my books I wrote very late at night, when it was calm and still and I didn’t have to worry about the family or the day ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

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