Friday, January 06, 2012

The World At 7 AM

Frankie here. As Rick pointed out earlier this week, now is the time to make resolutions. By inclination and body clock, I am a night person. I get more done between 9 PM and 2 AM than I do during the rest of the day, Or, at least, that’s what I have been telling myself for years. But, is it true?

Maybe not. When I'm at school, I'm certainly working during the day. I do manage to prepare for my classes, read and grade papers, and meet with students.

Maybe what I've meant was that I'm a more productive writer in the evening and early morning. Yes, I did finish the last revisions of my new book at around 2:30 AM a couple of days ago. And I felt terrific, not even tired.

But later that morning, when I wanted to send the revised manuscript off to my editor, it took me until afternoon to crawl out of bed, wake up, and get to my computer. By then, much of the day was gone, and so I got a late start on the article that I’m working on. And last night, I repeated the cycle. That explains why my post today is late.

Those of you who are fellow night owls are probably nodding right about now. You've been there, done that. But like me, you probably do have to get up early (for us) at least three or four times a weeks. All week if your day job doesn't allow for flexible hours. We get up and we make it where we have to be. But we do it grumbling, daring anyone to speak to us, answering questions in monosyllables, with brain at half-mast. And we sigh with relief when we make it through the morning and get our energy surge as all those larks are winding down. Problem is, when we're ready to go, other folks are ready to call it a day.

Occasionally, a couple of times a month, I have insomnia. I can't sleep, and so I'm awake when dawn comes. The world at 7 AM is a different place. That is, it's a different place when you're a night owl and decide to actually see if you can get outside and enjoy the morning air and wave to your neighbors (not to say that such exertions don't require coming back and falling into bed). But what I'm speaking of here is trying to embrace the experience.

This year, I resolve that I will experiment with going to bed early and getting up with good will.

I want to see if doing something else would work better. This does not commit me to changing forever. For example, right now, I’m into my second day of not snacking on popcorn every evening. Sounds like a small thing, but I have a serious popcorn addiction that goes along with being up late at night. I also have been reminding myself to take five minute exercise breaks when I'm sitting at the computer for hours. I may have to set a timer to remind myself to get up and move. But this is a part of my larger plan. I want to see if cutting out late night snacking and getting more exercise will make it easier for me to get to bed by midnight and fall asleep.

Will these efforts make me a more productive and/or better writer? I don’t know. But I’m going to see if Ben Franklin was right. “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a [writer] healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

I’ll let you know what happens.

4 comments:

Aline Templeton said...

I've always been a lark, Frankie, which is fine first thing in the morning but it does mean that by the time you reach lunch you know that if you haven't done it it won't get done, I gues ou can't win!

Aline Templeton said...

I've always been a lark, Frankie, which is fine first thing in the morning but it does mean that by the time you reach lunch you know that if you haven't done it it won't get done, I gues ou can't win!

Donis Casey said...

I'd love to be a morning person, and have resolved innumerable times to start rising earlier. It hasn't happened yet. Probably one should go to bed before one a.m.

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

Aline, my parents were larks. They had to be at work at 8 AM, and to my distress they would wake up chattering happily as they got dressed and made breakfast. In our small house, I would have to put a pillow over my head. On the other hand, they had to put up with a daughter who roamed around long after they were in bed.

Donis,

I'm never going to be a morning person. But if I can just get up early once a while and have an evening off. . .I'm trying to think of it that way. Breakfast -- pecan pancakes at a wonderful cafe -- and reading a book in the evening.