Can a 6am Start Seriously Improve Your Writing?
As the sunshine peeps through my half-closed blinds, a cup of tea steams beside me and the birds celebrate the start of a new day, I feel that familiar tingle of excitement.
Full creative flow is emerging.
This is my special time of the day.
It’s 6am. My family are still sleeping, and apart from the peacock squawking (don’t ask, it’s not my peacock!) this tranquil scene is the perfect backdrop for writing productivity.
If you’re a writer with an early morning routine, you’ll know exactly what I’m describing. However, if you’re more a grab-any-time-possible kind of writer, without any real structure or plan, then you’re missing out on the 6am writing success club.
Here are 6 reasons why early morning writing routines (and 6am starts) get results.
1. Better Focus
Do you fire on all cylinders first thing on a morning? Me too. And it’s great to put that to good use. When your mind is calmer and quieter at the start of the day, you’re able to focus better than you would, say, at lunchtime, when you’ve got half a morning’s mental to-do list flying around in there, you’re watching the clock and wishing you were writing instead.
2. Improved Productivity
A quiet and calm environment is conducive to productivity. Your brain works faster. You write more. You’re motivated by how much you’re writing. You write more. And the cycle continues. If I try to write, proofread or edit anything after, say, 6pm, I feel like I’m running through treacle. I’m tired, my brain’s foggy, I ramble, my thought process is slower. Maybe you’re the same. So switch it around instead and see just how much more productive you are.
3. Optimum Creativity
As the day progresses, the noise, responsibilities, chaos and daily chores increase. Your headspace fills up. Writing and ideas don’t come as easily because your inner chat’s bossing you around … “Should you be indulging in your own writing work now? Shouldn’t you be doing x, y, z? If you just finish that client work, you’ll earn an extra £100 today instead of wasting your time on writing!” Sound familiar?
That’s why early mornings are like a lovely, blank page in a notebook. A fresh start. A clear mind. The perfect setting for optimum creativity. Instead of drawing on clichés or the first anecdote or metaphor that springs to mind, go with your creative flow – you’ll be surprised at just how seamless the thinking process is at 6am and just how quickly your word count grows.
4. No Distractions
At 6am you won’t be interrupted by the postie, you won’t have #lockdown kids and #lockdown hubbies/partners treating your office like a McDonald’s drive-through, and if you’re really lucky, even the dog might still be in bed. It’s an ungodly hour to ring anyone, so don’t worry that you’ll be distracted by the usual phone-addict culprits. And no one can seriously expect an instant reply to their question on Messenger at 6am, can they?
Keeping the distractions at bay, ignoring any overnight emails and social media feeds, and focusing on your top of the list priority at this point means you’ll be focussed, creative and productive rather than subconsciously prepping your next task or scoping out a reply to that email you’ve glanced over. Or worse, just doing that quick two-minute task before you start writing – now that is a slippery slope.
5. More Positive
If you start your day by writing, meditating, exercising and/or journaling, you’ll know the positive impact this has on the rest of your day. Rushing straight into client work doesn’t put you in the right frame of mind, rather you feel frustrated that you’ve had no ‘me time’, your needs have been thrown to the bottom of the pile and your latest writing project hasn’t progressed. On the flip side, prioritising as little as half an hour to write first thing every morning will send positive ripples right through the rest of your day. Plus you’ll feel so motivated by your early writing session you’ll try your utmost to grab another half hour later in the day. (I’ve done this so many times.)
6. It’s ‘ME’ Time
Prioritising the important stuff – ie you and your writing – boosts your serotonin levels, stops your mind wandering and the ‘guilt’ of choosing whether to spend the next half on your writing or finalising that job you can’t face doing. If you have to, look on this special 6am writing slot as self-care. It sets you up for the day, gets your positivity levels going, and progresses your latest writing project easily (without feeling like it’s a chore that you want to keep putting off).
“And you’ll quickly see that coming from a place of positivity
where writing is a treat and not a chore
and it’s something you want to make time to do,
will result in the change you need to be more productive.” ~ Maya Angelou
I challenge you …
Can’t think of anything worse than getting up at 6am to write? Let me set you a challenge! (I love a challenge, don’t you?!)
Try it for a week, with an open mind, and see how you get on. Then come back and tell me how much more productive you are, how excited you are with your progress, and how closer you are to finishing that big writing project.
Feel free to leave a comment about your early morning writing routine. I’d love to hear from you.
Want to discover how to fit more good quality writing time into your already hectic schedule?
Check out my book: Finding Time to Write – How to Write More in Less Time, Embrace Your Creativity and Grab Every Opportunity to Write. Just £4.99 on Kindle.