Is it weird to write while walking on a treadmill before the sun rises? It doesn’t feel weird to get up at 3 a.m. to write my novel (Almost Sage), but it sounds weird – even to me – when I talk about it.
Luckily, writers are weird. Actually – I take that back! People are weird.
1. I don’t need an alarm clock
Every morning is like Christmas! It sounds lame and maybe even fake, but the truth is I wake up naturally. I’m genuinely happy to get out of bed and grateful that I’m alive. This morning, for instance, I woke up at 2:40 a.m. I rested for twenty minutes, then jumped out of bed and made coffee.
According to my mom, I was born at 3:20 in the morning. I figure that’s why my body naturally comes alive around that time.
Coincidentally, when I was 18 years old a man broke into my apartment in the middle of the night and attempted to assault me. What time was that? I’m glad you asked. It was 3:10 a.m.! If that contributes to my middle-of-the-night self-wake-up-call, it’s unconscious. And I’m grateful.
2. The “real” writing doesn’t start until 4 a.m. – on the treadmill
The first thing I do is make coffee, feed the dogs (they like their middle-of-the-night snack), and write in my personal journal until 4 a.m.. I sit in the living room in front of the fireplace, and do my version of Morning Pages.
Then, from 4 until about 5:30 a.m. I get on my treadmill and write on my laptop while walking. The incline is 6% and my speed is 1.5 miles/hour. Then I go outside for a walk in the fresh air, and am home for breakfast by 6:30 a.m..
Most writers who get up before the sun rises have an actual reason to get up early. Jobs, kids, schedules, housemates or animals to take care of. Not me. I’ve been working from home as a full-time freelance writer, blogger, and author for over 15 years. I don’t have kids who’ll be jumping on the bed at 5 a.m. or needing a ride to school at 8:30 a.m (we’re childless). Nor do I have elderly parents toddling over for breakfast at 7 a.m. (my mom lives in Saskatchewan, and I’m in Vancouver).
I don’t get up in the middle of the night because I have to go to work. I’m already at work, and I (theoretically) have all day to write thousands of more words. I don’t know if you think that’s weird, but I do.
3. I almost never take a midday nap
Maybe it’s because I love working on Almost Sage, or maybe it’s because I can’t wait to start pitching my idea to literary agents. Whatever the reason I almost never feel tired during the day – if I wake up naturally. I’ve never set my alarm for a 3 a.m. writing stint, but when I’m forced to wake up I’m tired during the day. I’ve found that finding a natural rhythm and allowing it to flow is the best way to function, both as a writer and as a happy human being.
When I first starting getting up in the middle off the night to write, I thought for sure I’d be tired later. I figured I could have a mid-morning (8 a.m.) or mid-afternoon (1 p.m.) nap. But I rarely need one.
Okay, dear reader. I showed you mine. Now you show me yours! Do you have any weird habits or quirks?