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15 Habits of Great Writers: Day 3 – Initiate

Great writers take initiative. They initiate. They start. Jeff says that even if you’ve been writing, it’s time to start again. I don’t think he means “start over” as though nothing you’ve done up until now matters. I think he just means make a new start to get motivated. Often, it seems like it’s easy to be motivated to do something when it’s new and fresh and exciting. But after a while, after the new wears off, after the honeymoon is over, it’s hard to keep going. Now, I don’t think he’s going to say it’s okay to stop on later days, or even at the end of the series; I think he just means start again to try to capture some of the excitement and motivation of the beginning of something. I get that. And I’m excited.

He also mentioned in the Day 2 post on Believing that he wanted participants to get up 2 hours earlier than usual beginning on Day 3. Those extra 2 hours are to be dedicated to writing. No email. No twitter. No anything else. Just writing.

I’m not a morning person. I’ve never been a morning person. I hate mornings. Is that clear enough? Okay, I know that doesn’t matter. The point is to have time that’s dedicated to writing. Nevertheless, I was honestly afraid that I wouldn’t get up this morning to write. So I wrote last night.

I am a night owl. I’ve always been a night owl. It’s my favorite time of day. Usually I read, watch TV, surf the internet, or play a game on my phone … sometimes until the very wee hours of the morning, which, of course, only makes me dread the non-wee hours even more. But last night instead of doing any of those things, I wrote. It was wonderful.

Then, this morning, I woke up, without an alarm, two hours earlier than I normally wake up. No kidding. My mind wanted to be awake. Now before I go getting claps on the back – I fought with myself in my head and ultimately went back to sleep. When I woke up again at normal time, I beat myself up mentally for not getting up. I mean, yeah, I wrote last night, so I had the time in, but wouldn’t it be great if I could actually build a habit of waking up early to write?!

The idea of waking up early in the morning is simply that you get your writing done in the morning and are less likely to put it off or not be able to get to it later in the day. I understand this. There’ve been many times that I planned to do something after the kids went to bed only to find that by the time they went to bed I was too exhausted to do anything but sleep myself.

So now I face a conundrum. Do I trust myself to get up early in the morning to write and go to bed at a decent time tonight without writing? Or do I accept my “I hate mornings” attitude and spend time writing tonight again? I feel like I need to move out of my comfort zone to take the initiative necessary to build this habit. But then does moving out of my comfort zone necessarily set me up for failure. Hmmm, perhaps I’ll write tonight and, if my mind wakes up early again, I’ll let it win that time. I’ll have to update on that in the next post.

Whether I ultimately build a writing habit/routine in the morning or at night, I know the key is to write. No, to write daily. No excuses. I will do this. This is my start. This is my initiative.

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