Ack! I’m One of THOSE Now–How I Trained Myself to be a Morning Person…

funny pictures - mornings

Today I’m going to share a little personal journey and how it affected my writing in case it might inspire you to become… GASP… a morning person!

I’m in my mid-40s now, and I only share that so that you understand how long I’ve NOT been a morning person. In fact, I was one of those that stared at those chipper morning people with a curl of the lip and total incomprehension (you mean you choose to wake up earlier than you have to??). I was notorious for missing morning classes in college and I usually tried to escape that fate by never even scheduling one before noon, if I could manage it. In fact, at one point, in order to make sure I stopped hitting snooze until it gave up, I had to place the alarm clock clear across the room. I was the Snooze Queen all the way up until a year ago. It wasn’t unknown for me to set it for one hour earlier than need be just so I could have time to hit the snooze button. I know, that doesn’t make any sense, but there it is.

I can’t stress enough how much I hated mornings and wanted to squeeze out just ten more minutes of blissful sleep. But it used to annoy me when morning people would get pissed at me as if I were lazy. I mean, I was up far later than them doing stuff and I’m not talking about the occasional hangover type I-hate-mornings because I was up too late partying, I mean like reading, creating, brainstorming, what have you. I was more productive in the evenings, it seemed, and I just wanted my eight hours of sleep, dangit, just like they got because they went to bed early. Jeez.

Anyway, that all changed a year ago today when this happened, courtesy of a visiting cousin who found them abandoned:

The irony is, I started waking up early and became a morning person precisely because I wanted to avoid this:

advice animals memes  - Animal Memes: The Most Interesting Cat in the World: Maybe He's Got Something Important to Say

I absolutely did NOT want to have Alarm Clock Kittehs, because, you know, I valued my sleep so highly. So I trained them not to be and the result: WIN for my writing! Basically I figured that if they learned that I awoke only when my alarm rang and not because of paws in faces, meows or anything else, they’d eventually get it. I also didn’t feed them when I first got up. And remember when I said I already had my clock set an hour early to give me time to hit snooze for an hour? Well, I didn’t change it from 8 a.m. for some reason that I don’t rightly remember. So I pretended to sleep from about 6 (or whatever ungodly time the kittehs had to play roller derby on my person) until the alarm rang and I’d bound up like nobody’s business, trying to give off vibes that THIS is what gets me up, that noise you just heard, evil kittehs. And believe it or not, it worked. They might still accidentally wake me up on occasion because they decided to play, but they don’t do it with intention like I’ve heard of other cats doing so they can be fed and petted. Yay!

Anyway, I started using that extra time to do things and it was a revelation for me that I could enjoy a leisurely cup of tea and get things done before I had to go to work. Weird. Also that scratchy/fuzzy-eye feeling which made me think I had to hit snooze to appease it? It goes away! Who knew. One thing you need to know is that I don’t drink coffee, so I have to wake up naturally.

Later in the summer, I got really involved in critiquecircle.com and started using that extra time critting on that site. I then decided to set my alarm for GASP 7:30 to give me more time to crit. This came in handy when I started to blog and tweet in September. I devoted that free time to my writing career and haven’t looked back.

Recently, I took Candace Havens Fast Draft class and used that time to knock out a chunk of my daily quota. I blogged about the FastDraft experience a couple of weeks ago. On day 2 I realized that 7:30 wasn’t enough time, so I set my clock for 7:00 and that extra half hour really helped. I also discovered something shocking–I came up with more creative stuff in the morning than I did at night! And I always had believed I was at my most creative in the evenings!

Class has been over since the end of May, and I’m still waking up at 7 and devoting that time to my writing career, be it writing, querying, reading blogs, revising, critting, what have you.

Not too long ago, I was on the receiving end of the lip curl/stare of incomprehension when I told someone about this new behavior of mine. They looked at me and cut me off to impart that, No, they really liked their sleep, they couldn’t possibly do this. They then went on to explain how much and I’m nodding, thinking, yes yes, I used to be that way too, but the person didn’t believe me. She really thinks she somehow likes her sleep more than I do. I never did get a chance to explain. Oh well.

I’ve also discovered some other side effects. Twice my alarm hasn’t gone off, and now when I wake up in a panic it’s not 10 minutes before I have to be at work. I still have TIME. It also came in handy at my first writer’s conference when I was assigned 9 am slots for pitching. I didn’t bat an eye. For RWA, I actually CHOSE morning slots! Whoah.

What about you? Have you converted? Do you have a set time you devote to writing?

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24 Comments

  1. Wow, this is impressive! I am not a morning person, and I’ve spent many years dealing with that way-too-early alarm clock thing. Fortunately, right now I don’t have to do that, since my job rarely requires me to get up early. But I do feel there’s a stronger creative energy in the morning, since I’m rested and refreshed, so I need to take better advantage of that. In fact, I’m off to do that now!

    Reply
  2. Hi Angela. I am a morning person. I grew up on a farm with horses and early (five am) chores. The addiction to seeing the sunrise is still with me. Unfortunately, I’m a night person too, lol. So I yawn a lot. *BG*

    Reply
    • Wow. That’s really cool, but I’m also wondering if I could’ve survived that as a kid :) Yeah, I’m not really going to bed much earlier… But I find I fall asleep faster…

      Reply
  3. Teaching made me a morning person against my will. Even the kids wanted to start later, but the state wouldn’t listen. When I don’t have bus duty, I go in early just to write. You don’t want to know what time I get up. Suffice to say, I am often in bed by nine.

    Reply
  4. I’m a morning person…at 12 in the afternoon.

    Reply
    • Lol that was me! My dormmates in college knew I’d still be sleeping in my room around noon and would cone wake me. My cousins are all like that–noon-1sh being the normal wake time

      Reply
  5. I too had a cat that loved to curl up on my bed. Fortunately, he’d wake me if he needed to dash for his litter box. His method — lick my eyelashes — Yuck! So I kept my bedroom door ajar. When I had my first baby sleep deprivation became my friend. My sleep measured in minutes not hours. Looking back, I have no idea how I made it, but I did. Later, both my kids were awful for sleeping. They’d take late afternoon naps and be ready to rumble at 10 pm. That is how I started writing.

    Reply
    • Licking eyelashs!? Cats are so funny! I often wondered if I’d be able to do the baby-lack-of-sleep thing…. But that’s awesome about how that got you writing

      Reply
  6. Cerridwen

     /  June 20, 2012

    We close the bedroom door to keep the kitties O-U-T! lol But I’m a total lark – up at 4 a.m. and ready to go. Of course, the downside of that is, I’m also ready for bed at 8 p.m. when the rest of my family is just getting warmed up for the evening…! lol

    Reply
  7. I would probably do better in the mornings if I went to bed before midnight every night, but as I’m unwilling to give that up, I’m not a morning person. I always thought I was most creative after 9 at night, but I’m starting to think it’s somewhere around 10-2, after I’ve had enough time to wake up, but before I get very tired again.

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    • That’s why I don’t think I can go earlier than 7 cuz I still stay up til midnight. Last night I think I read til 2

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  8. Angela, your story is insipiring, but I fear it’s too late to make me a morning person. Even having children didn’t LOL. But I do cheer those of you who can get up early, get in hours of writing before beginning the rest of your day.

    Reply
  9. I am a morning person and my clock is getting messed up because my agent’s assistant, who’d been helping me edit my books is in a timezone three hours different from me and likes to work at night. This editing stuff can’t end soon enough.

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  10. My interest is totally piqued by this. I’m in my mid-30′s and a lifelong night owl. I’ve always thought, like you say here, that I’m at my most creative and productive at night.

    The thing is, I’ve never really tried it the other way. Reading your post, I’m wondering if I did a test-run of waking up super-early, if I’d actually find I like it better. Or, gasps, be more productive.

    Hmmmm…. Am filing this thought away for possible implementation this summer.

    Reply
  11. Wow, well done. As another life long morning person I can only salute you. And the kittehs are very cute.

    Reply
  12. I’ve always been a night owl…even as I’ve had full-time jobs that require me to get up early in the morning….I prefer (and, write my best stuff) at 2 or 3 in the morning. Nothing – not even 22 years in the military – cured me of that. The problem is, I also am a person who needs 7-8 hours of sleep. So, staying up all night – and then having to function the next day – not so good. I have more flexibility now, but I still haven’t found the magic combination yet for my daily sleep/write/work rhythms. I’m glad you’ve found something that works for you. :) As I’m replying to this at almost 1am…

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  13. I used to be a morning person before I started writing! Before that, I had nothing to keep up late:) But I don’t start writing until 8pm, when my 8-yr-old goes to bed. My 12-yr-old is reading for 2 hrs after that anyways so I type away and it’s easy to lose track of time! Now I’ve connected with so many wonderful bloggers (like you!), it’s even harder b/c I want to stay up late reading everyone’s stuff!

    Reply
  14. Wow, roomie, I’m glad I’m finding out about this before RWA. :)

    I’m usually not a morning person, but I wake up fine to alarms, so I can have whatever schedule I need to. Lately, I’ve been staying up until about 1 or 2 am and waking up around 8 or 9. Yes, that’s not enough sleep. :) Every once in a while I turn in about 11pm to try to catch up, but then I wake up around 7am. My body is just weird. The big issue with RWA is your body will be on a different time zone. LOL!

    That’s so cool how you trained your cats though. And I really need to do the experiment to see when I’m more creative and productive, but I haven’t yet. Like you, I just hate the thought of going to bed *too* early. :)

    Reply
  15. Not feeding the kittehs in the morning makes a big difference. I’ve got two (both rescues), and since I leave dry food out all night they don’t bother me in the morning, except to curl up and snuggle (they’re both snugglers, and would prefer to sleep on me than to play with each other. I highly suspect they dislike the alarm clock nearly as much as I do, because it makes me get out of bed and stop snuggling them.)

    But alas, although I have a history of waking up early, and assigning myself morning chores, and liking the sunrise when I catch it… I have never managed to become a morning person. Never. Sure, I’ve crawled out of bed at 4:45 to catch an early job, and I’ve tried sleeping in until 10 (almost never made it to noon, even in college or high school), but it doesn’t matter – I’m not truly awake until I get either a face full of sunshine and fresh air, or 10am, regardless of when I get up.

    I can be perky and have even fooled people into thinking I’m a morning person. I can be cheerful, even without tea (coffee-the universe’s biggest lie! Smells great, tastes terrible), and sometimes I even think I’m awake. But I still run into walls and my cognitive functions don’t, er, function until then. And if the sun doesn’t come out, it takes a good deal longer than that. (There is some speculation that I may be, in actuality, a plant.)

    Any suggestions? It sounds like your brain actually works in the mornings, not just perk without power like mine. I’m open to suggestions!

    Reply
    • LOL, I love this comment! It does sound like you’re a plant! Now, I’m not sure if I can help you because the sun’s up when I wake but I still feel ‘fuzzy’. My routine now is to come to my computer, brew some hot tea and check my social networking sites while I sip my tea. It’s Yerba Mate, which supposedly helps stimulate the brain. After a half hour, I can generally function. I’m with you on the coffee, partly. Love the smell! I don’t mind the taste, though, but I can’t drink it because it has too much caffeine for me. I bounce off walls and get way too antsy/anxious. I hate the feeling–it’s like I’m not in control…. Plus I have a heart-skip-thingie which is aggravated by caffeine.

      Reply
  1. The Sudden Loss of a Pet and a Warning: Beware of Thread | Angela Quarles | Geek girl romance writer

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