Friday, January 25, 2013

It's 5 O'clock Somewhere

A few years ago I discovered that my best time to write is at 5:00 AM. I found that before the sun is up, and the demands of motherhood, wife-hood, and influences of social media have soaked into my pores, my mind is at it's clearest. Something I guess I knew in college, for when I was under an intense deadline I would go to bed early and then get up at 5:00 (to my sweet and amazing roommates dismay) to finish my papers, and contrary to what my friends and family expected, I did better on those papers than the others.

For a short period of time at the end of 2011 I managed to get myself into a great routine where I arose before the sun, made myself some hot apple cider, and curled up in the office with nothing but an open word document and a blanket.

I loved it.

And I hated it.

I would manage to keep this routine going for several days and then the weekend would knock me off of my track. Or otherwise put, after getting up that early for a week or two, I would burn out. So, I'd get lazy for awhile, and then, I'd try again. But each time I tried, it seemed my determination and conviction to do it lessened. Even though I loved it, I seemed to decide that I loved or needed sleep more.

There are a few things that contributed to this problem.

First and foremost, I think, is that I have never ever in my whole wide life been a morning person. Just ask my dad. He tried everything to help get me up and moving, he even brought me breakfast in bed for a season because it was the only way he could get breakfast in me before I left the house. (Have I ever mentioned what a great man he is? I now see what I put him through every morning as I call out the countdown to Owen, "bud, it's 8:05 I really need you to get up. That's 5 minutes until the bus is here." Everyday I'm reminded of my dad walking down the hall, rapping on the door, and telling me the time. This pattern even continued through high school, I just hated to get up.) I still hate to get up. It feels like torture. My poor children do not have that mother who is up and ready to go before them, ready to tackle the day with a smile on her face.

Which segues nicely into my next problem. I'm the mother of (currently) two small children. Waking up at 5:00 can often disturb the peace of our home, drawing a child  (particularly my youngest as I just told you my five year old sleeps like a teenager) out of his cave and waking him prematurely. This was a problem half of the time. The other half of the time said child had already abandoned his cave in favor of mine. Snuggling right next to me, his head on my arm, in the sweetest way possible. How do you leave your bed when a little munchkin is content in your arms? It takes a lot more motivation for one thing, and then there is a much higher risk of, again, disturbing the peace.

Now, I should note, these were problems I ran into a year ago. Now, Micah is less likely to be in my bed, at least until 7, and they both sleep a little more soundly these days seemingly making this phase of life a better one to attempt or reattempt my writing routine. However, now there is a little matter of growing a large cantaloupe in my belly and all of the sleep and energy that requires. In many ways this has been my best pregnancy, with Owen I had back pain, with Micah I was very stressed and uncomfortable (I believe) as a result, and this time, aside from extreme (for me) morning sickness early on I generally feel great and I haven't yet gained any weight. Great, but exhausted. Things that didn't phase me with thing one or thing two pretty much knock me flat on and  my back with this one. By the end of a day I am dead on the couch and my eyes start to droop around 9:00.

Listen to me and my many excuses.

I was telling all of this to a good friend of mine a few weeks ago, about how 5:00 is my best time to write, and yet as much as I wish it did, it just doesn't work for me at this stage of life. "I just have to find my 5:00 at another time, make some other time of the day work for me the same way."

And that's when I remembered the popular country song, "It's 5 O'clock Somewhere." It's interesting to me how many people quote this song when looking for a reason, an excuse, to have an early drink.

Now, I don't drink, but I think I can learn something from this song and the resulting catch phrase. I simply need to make this a priority, instead of finding excuses or hiding behind reasons not to do something, in this case writing, which I love. I need to make excuses and find reasons to do it. I simply need to find my 5:00 at another time.

I haven't found it, yet. But I think I'm getting close.

Perhaps, my 5:00 AM can be a different time each day and it isn't quite as complicated as I always try to make it in my mind. I think, having put a name to it and found a catch phrase for myself, and the fact that I have started identifying, even if it's just internally for now, the reasons why I make these excuses in the first place, will all help me to find that place, inwardly, where I can tune out the world and my day to tune into that place where composition is easy and isn't inhibited. Finally, I think I need to make my 5:00 less about a specific time and more about the things that help me unwind, a steady supply of hot apple cider, a blanket and a quiet room to escape to for starters. (Quiet in a house of boys, an oxymoron if I've ever heard of one.)

So friends, I wonder, am I the only one who makes excuses NOT to do something they know internally they need to be doing?

What things do you do, to motivate and encourage yourself when those excuses are taking over and derailing your enthusiasm?

I'd especially love to hear from you, my blogging/writing friends, about your 5:00, is it a time, or a thing that brings you to that place of productivity?

I don't make a habit of blogging on the weekends, but my son interviewed me this week, and I'd like to share it with you. So, I hope you will make your way back here tomorrow for that little bit of my heart.

Until then,


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