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?