I'd been here before; after the 2011 AROHO retreat I had sat with Tania Pryputniewicz, another AROHO friend, trying to make a writing plan. Back then I still thought I could get myself to write after teaching all day. So that year my plan included locking myself in my room when I returned from work each day. I thought I now had enough fortitude to do this. After all, I've struggled to write after work for years, sometimes successful but mostly not. Could I do it this time? What I worried about came true: the mental and emotional drain of teaching still won out. No amount of "you should", "you can do it" and "you want to this" self-pep talks could make a real difference. Yes, I wrote more consistently after that first retreat, but not every day.
And now a year later I sat facing the same problem. I couldn't - and didn't want - to quit my job. I still felt too overwhelmed to write every day after work. What was left for me to try? Oh, yes - the dreaded early morning wake up call.
I have always hated the idea of getting up early to write, having resisted the idea that I would ever, ever, ever willingly get up before the sun rose each day. But on August 18, 2013, I made a desperate decision to do just that: I would get up a half hour earlier each morning to write before going to work. I was terrified that I couldn't keep it up, but I promised both Barbara and myself that I would at least give it a try.
That was one year ago today. I have gotten up early every single day since then and written. 365 days in a row. The first time in my writing career that not even a cold or late night celebration have kept me from writing. I have even set my alarm for 4 a.m. to write before catching an early morning flight.
Today summer vacation ended, and I returned to my full-time job for the school year. This morning the alarm rang at 5:40 a.m., and I wrote for a half hour before getting in the shower. And tomorrow I'll do it again.
What works for you? I'd love to hear.