So this week I was going through one of my recurring battles to try to wake up earlier. It’s difficult when the deadline is entirely self-imposed, I think, and I didn’t set my alarm clock that early to start with (8:30). The quandry, as I’ve written about before, is that I tend to be more productive in the morning—
—well, at least on specific things. Mostly, rote things. Answering email. Playing editor. Working on web sites. Responding to job postings. (I can find and select jobs at any point in the day, but I’m more likely to be able write a good cover letter and resume-tweak in the morning.)
If I’ve gotten going, I can keep going in the afternoon on a project, even a rote one. If I start a project in the afternoon (or return to a multi-day one then)… well, if it’s a creative project, I can usually get going on it then. If it’s too mindless, I tend to drift.
By the evening, unless a project’s really swept me away, I’m pretty much out of it. After dinner I’m not likely to do anything but be on FurryMUCK. Or sometimes write navel-gazing journal entries like this one, although I’ve noticed if I let myself cross the midnight line—which happened about ten minutes ago—mental processes get really slow.
At any rate, today I remembered that I’d written about this for “Shadowgazing,” a proto-journal that I was trying back in ‘98. It wasn’t successful, I think because I was trying to approach it as a column, and just couldn’t remotely hack it back then. (This is perversely encouraging—as undisciplined as I am now, in retrospect I was worse then!) It was written on one of the very—I mean very—few days I got up in time to watch the sunrise. It talks about just what I talked about above, although in the context of full-time employment, a typical lament about not being in the mood for anything more creative than game-playing when I got home from work. (As I wrote about last year, this got even worse for me on Silicon Valley hours.)
Says the 1998 version of me:
By getting up this early, I’m trying to give myself enough time to write. Not much time—when all is said and done, less than another hour per day. The idea is that, after my alarm clock goes off at six, I’ll make a concerted effort to be out of bed by quarter after. If I can get used to this schedule, maybe I’ll risk pushing it back another half-hour.
If I may say: Ha! Fat lot of good that did me. And you know, I wouldn’t even mind refighting this battle annually if I actually managed to get even six months out of it.
I suppose what worries me about this currently is that I’ve got to beat myself into juggling the personal projects I have now before I think about taking on any others. Ideas bouncing about my head at times range from the small to the non-trivial to the what the hell are you thinking size, and the latter in particular requires a little more self-confidence than I have—and that uncertainty is based entirely on my performance with these little projects.
If I have things running on Claw & Quill in even a lurching fashion by year’s end, get my website revamped, maybe even (gasp) get a freelance client again even if I don’t manage to get a job, maybe I’ll think more seriously about the truly insane ideas.
I suppose this is a three-quarters-year resolution.
(N.B.: you’ll notice it took me forty minutes to get here from the point I wrote that it was ten after midnight. I did say the mental processes got slow.)