Posted by: Nancy Keim Comley | May 23, 2017

Change Up

It’s 5:20 am and outside my window a light fog is giving way to the dawn. I have a big mug of tea and a glass of water and I’m writing. This is my new normal and, though I am slightly sleep-deprived, this is a time I look forward to every morning.

I used to write while my youngest child napped. Since he napped at the same time everyday for about two hours I had a solid chunk of time. As he got older he stopped napping so I would try and find the time to write around my other tasks. It was a mishmash system and meant I mostly wrote at night after the children were in bed. This is a terrible idea and led to a lot if scenes that sounded like: “And then stuff happened. It was cool and maybe spiderzzzzzzzzzz.”

Last year a writer friend told me about the Highlights Foundation where she occasionally goes away for a weekend’s ‘Unworkshop’. She has a comfortable cabin, three delicious meals a day, lots of walking trails and the quiet to work. It sounded perfect so last Christmas the only thing I asked for was a weekend’s Unworkshop.

Before I went away the same friend mentioned that she had taken an online course from Udmy by the author Jessica Brody called Productivity Hacks For Writers and found it very helpful in focusing her in her work. I was determined to get as much out of my weekend away so at my friends suggestion I downloaded the course to my phone (it’s a video but listening to it is fine) and listened to it during the two and a half hour drive up to Highlights.

Jessica Brody gives good, helpful advice and I arrived at Highlights ready to work. It was a fantastic weekend; I was up every morning at 6 and working by 6:20 (after a brief walk and acquiring a cup of strong tea). I would work until I began to feel as one with my chair or it was time for a meal. I got everything accomplished that I hoped to get finished and brought home the habit of rising early and the enthusiasm to keep me getting up at 5am.

Now it’s 6:20 am and I can hear my family beginning to stir. Soon they will be down and it will be time for me to start the day’s tasks. It’s easier for me now because instead of trying to find the time to write I have written. Everything else is gravy.

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