Charlotte Rains Dixon  

Getting Up At 5 AM

Last week, I set a goal with my friend and fellow writer Roy, that both of us would rise at 5 AM in order to write.  The goal was to do it twice last week and three times this week.  Since he's in Nashville and I'm in Portland, with a two hour time difference, the idea is that we each email the other when we are up and working.  Usually this consists of a terse message along the lines of "up."  (Hey, we save our creative energy for the page.)

So, I've managed to rise at 5 AM three times now.  In typical fashion for me, today, even though I told myself I could sleep in, it being Monday and all, I woke up all on my own at a little after 5.  I have a strong circadian clock, I think.

Since I've now managed to rouse myself from bed three, count 'em, three, times, that makes me an expert.  And because I am an expert, I have pronouncements.  So here goes:

1.  The worst part is the first moment when you open your eyes and groan.  Keep your eyes open and get your feet on the floor.  It gets better from there–especially when you get some coffee in you.

2.  Speaking of coffee, make sure you have some waiting for you, either made by a spouse willing (or having no choice) to get up early also, or via automatic timer.  Trust me, you are going to want coffee immediately.

3.  Drink a couple big glasses of water before you start on the
coffee.  Its good for you, and it'll help keep your brain focused. 
Plus, it will give you an excuse to get up from the computer and use
the bathroom.

4.  Have a plan.  And don't make the plan the morning of, figure it out the night before.  This morning, because I didn't really plan to get up so early, I wasn't prepared with a plan and consequently I didn't get as much done. 

5.  Have a big goal.  Mine is to once and for all finish the rewrite of my novel and get it out the door.  I want this desperately, so desperately that I'm willing to get up in the dark to write. 

6.  Be prepared to kick ass and get tons done.  Its magical, really.  Since I work at home and can generally stay in my jammies all day long if I want to, I usually don't have to quit my morning writing session until 7:30 or 8, depending on what pressing assignments I have.  When I get up at 5, I feel like I have a vast expanse of time in which to work, and my brain opens and eases and it is much easier to focus.

7.  Don't let those pesky night owl types talk you out of your plan to rise early.  It is worth it, trust me.  Really, really worth it.

And now, excuse me, its nearly 9 PM and time for me to get in bed.  Kidding!  Sort of.

0 thoughts on “Getting Up At 5 AM

  1. Fey

    I admire your hutzpah. 🙂 I have a helluva time getting up before noon.

  2. Roy

    I am said Roy, as described in Charlotte’s text. I must say that she has properly shamed me. 🙂

    Today is Wednesday, and I have not gotten up ONCE this week early. Tomorrow, I am up early, but I have to leave the house early in order to get to my Thursday night Eng Comp teaching gig. In my defense, I will admit that I’ve had an especially rough week with the part-time teaching. In addition to the regular weekly teaching work, I had to grade about 50 papers, which left me pretty much empty for a while.

    Okay Charlotte. I am back at it. I will get up a little extra early tomorrow, and I will be up early Friday as well. So, you’ll get two “up” messages from me this week. Sorry to be such a slug! 😉

    Later, Roy

  3. John

    It is a dreadful mix of sleeplessness, madness and the creative impulse equals schizophrenia. No wonder why all great writers go insane. 5 o’clock in the morning is not meant for the living.

  4. patry francis

    You are my idol! I’ve been promising, committing, vowing, making written plans to get up at 5 and write for at least a year now. So far, I continue to snooze, but your pronouncements have inspired me to try again–not 7 days a week for the rest of my life–but maybe once. Just once and see how it goes. Brilliant.

  5. Pandora

    I am getting up at 4am to write. . . I am not trying to throw in a trump card, but I have two portuguese water dogs under the age of three – Obama has no idea what he’s gotten himself into. Although I suppose they’ll have help. I have a one year old and a baby on the way due in three months. . . I have 356 pages of a novel written. . . I have to rewrite the beginning!! so my only hours to do this are insanely – 4am to 6:30am when the bambino awakes. Do you think I can do it?

  6. Kimberly Zook

    It gets easier after waking up at 5 several days in a row. It seems at least my body and mind have adjusted and now are on the same page. This won’t last too much longer, however, since I’m 8 months pregnant, but I sure get a lot of writing down from 5-7 a.m. when the whole world, including my toddler, is quiet and asleep. I hope it gets easier for you!

  7. sam


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