I’m no stranger to the power of mornings, even though I’m more often a stranger of mornings themselves than not.
My family tends more toward the night-owl nature.
Whether they would completely agree with me on that, I can’t say, but it is my observation that we all struggle to get up in the mornings and happily chat our way to midnight or later.
(For you true insomniacs and night-owls, realize that midnight really is quite late for those who have to be up at six or seven in the morning. Sometimes even earlier.)
The literature doesn’t help, of course. I can’t say how many artists, poets, writers, and otherwise have painted those quiet times in a rhapsodic light.
How the world stills. Blanketing itself in a bed of calm, letting the magical thoughts of the dreaming dance their way across the land and into the eager minds of visionaries who all “do their best work at night.”
The witching hour it’s been called. Magical even to the name.
But even though my nature and a few of my creative mentors incline me toward the wee midnight hours, I have nevertheless been convinced of the power of mornings.
Just think of the parallels to start (I do so love comparative parallels):
- Dawn is the stillness into which we arise, refreshed to meet the new day.
- Dawn is the pouring forth of fresh life-giving energy onto the earth.
- Dawn is the breaking of darkened stillness and the beginning of productivity.
In many ways, dawn is like the scientific midnight. Everything midnight pretends to do with magic, dawn actually does…with science!
Not only that, but the psychological effects of starting your day early — however it is you define early — are profound.
- To start, you get to gloat inwardly about all the stuff you’ve accomplished before anyone else you know is even awake.
- Creating time to process your thoughts before running out the door lets you better control your mood later, when the day’s stresses come at you.
- Proactively engaging with your day gives you a sense of ownership and control over your life that is difficult, if not impossible, to replicate. In fact, I know of no other way.
- The momentum you build by starting out your morning right leads to even greater productivity later, both in quantity and quality.
Of course, I’ve known all this for a while. Much like my writing habit, I’ve managed to make myself an early riser in some fashion or another on more than one occasion in the past.
But it was only ever for a stretch. Then something would come along and disrupt it. Or I would grow overconfident/bored/lazy/ovetwhelmed-by-the-unending-nature-of-the-task, etc. and the habit would end.
I’m on another stretch of successful mornings right now, and the difference it’s making in my life is (heh) night and day.
(Groan, I know.)
Much like the attitude shift I’ve made about my writing is helping me to make progress without judging myself when I fall short, this latest string of mornings is reminding me that — yes, actually — I feel great when I force myself to get up in the morning.
It’s still early days, and I’ve akready faced a morning where I really didn’t want to follow through with my morning commitment.
But every day that I maintain this and all my other positive habits, I teach my mind and body how important they are to my well-being.
And, given enough time, these actions will become…
(Wait for it.)
(I know. I’m sorry. I’ll stop now.)
Once again, for those who want a peek behind the curtain, the prompt for today talked about finding time in your life to write, and how mornings can be the best opportunity for doing so.
If I’m being honest, I thought the My 500 Words prompts would actually be…prompts.
Instead, it’s been moreso advice, guidance, and encouragement, from which I’ve extrapolated topics or themes to be starting points.
And that’s better than what my initial assumptions had led me to expect. Instead of a direct “write about this” subject header, which might not necessarily apply to whatever you’ve chosen to write, you’re instead treated to a piece of advice that helps you hold to the habit you’ve said you’re going to develop.
And that lets me follow along, while still letting my writerly self direct what we write about, based on what it focuses on in the daily encouragement email.
It means thousands of people could go through these 31 days the same way I am — receiving the same emails and drawing promots from them — and come out with wildly different results as to subject and content.
This has already been an incredibly edifying experience. And we’re not even 10% done.
If any of you have wanted to build a writing habit — whether it’s blogging or fiction writing or journaling or scripting or whatever — and have been struggling to hold yourself to it, I’d encourage you to give this challenge a shot.
It certainly can’t hurt. And you might just find you like it.
But I expect I’ll have more thorough thoughts on it at the end of the month.