Some people get tired at some point in the evening and are driven to bed. Not I. I don’t even attribute it to any sort of natural night owl-ness. My circadian rhythms just aren’t as strong as they are in some people. The plus side of this is that I can adapt to any schedule I please. Though it’s often easier to just stay up late and enjoy some baby-free time with Netflix. But I’ve burned far too many hours that way when I really, ultimately, want to be writing. No matter how good the show is on Netflix, I’m always left with a nagging sense that I want to be telling stories, not merely consuming them.
So I tried being productive after the baby goes to bed, but before I absolutely need to be in bed in order to get some handsome sleep. What I found is that I’d watch a couple episodes of Netflix (or three or four) and then jam in 15 minutes of writing before venturing downstairs to bed at Midnight. The problem being that I was all too often getting maybe 6 hours of sleep and was continually exhausted during the day. Let’s review: not getting enough sleep and not writing enough. But Netflix was loving it.
I read a book a while ago called “Do One Thing Different.” It was a remarkable self-help book which basically revealed its entire premise in its title. Do one thing different. If you feel stuck and like what you’re doing isn’t working, do something different and often you’ll get different, even surprisingly different, results. That’s what I’m testing now. I’m going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. It’s actually past my bedtime as of this writing. My goal is to be in bed by 9 p.m. and get up at 4 a.m. or perhaps 4:30 depending on how well my sleep needs are being met. Then I’ll get in a good solid 2-3 hours of writing time before the baby wakes up. As a bonus, I’m not one to watch Netflix on the morning. Morning time is for productivity, not relaxing. I’m going to take advantage of that inclination to write more.
I hope that as I implement this system for success, I’ll eventually be able to output up to 6,000 words in that time (I know, it’s a lot–but seriously, have you read 2K to 10K? Doubt not.). Even if I came in somewhat under that mark, I’d still be able to write a hell of a lot of books every year while also holding down a day job…until the day comes that I make enough off of my writing that I can quit my day job and write full-time. At which time I’ll still go to bed early and get up early to write.
When that day comes, I’ll get up at 4:00 a.m. or 4:30 a.m. and write until 7 a.m. when the baby wakes up then I’ll make breakfast, shower, spend some time with her, and get ready for the day. Then about 9 a.m. I’ll go into my writing room and spend another several hours working…on writing. And by done by 1 p.m. (lunch time!) each day. My goal over the long haul is to write my heart out for 5-6 hours a day, every day, and spend the rest of my time with my family doing the things we love to do–which is mostly just spend time together. This dream is what fires my determination. I will not be a corporate schmuck for any longer than necessary. The goal is to be able to quit my day job in two years. Watch this blog to see how I do it in 2014 and 2015. The goal is to have my last day at work fall on December 31st, 2015, or earlier. Though, considering where I’m starting from, if it takes me three years, that’s totally okay, too. So two years is the ideal. The inside goal. Three years is on the outside. Stay posted. It’s going to be an exciting ride!