Tag Archives: willpower

4 Tips for Waking Up Early to Write

Megan Norris Jones

Megan Norris Jones

My goal for our Write by Midnight challenge has been to wake up early and get an extra thirty minutes of writing time a day. I am not naturally a morning person, so this has really been a challenge, but I’m happy to report that I’ve been able to write every morning for the past week. I feel like I need some sort of early bird pin to proudly display my achievement.

If you’re hoping to work in some early morning writing time, too, here are a few of the techniques that have made it work for me.

1. Tell people.
There’s no motivation like the shame of having to admit that you were a lazy slug who burrowed under the covers instead of getting up to accomplish the writing goal you have announced is so important to you. I told you on this blog, announced it to Twitter, and told the friends and family members I see every day. So I basically have to get up.

2. Remind yourself.
In the wee hours, when it’s still dark outside and my bed is so cozy, I often have no idea why I set my alarm so early. So I hit snooze without waking properly and then kick myself when I’m finally awake enough to remember, “Oh, yeah, I really want to finish my novel.” My solution? I simply title the alarm on my cell phone “Finish this draft by X date” or “It’s time to Write by Midnight.” That last one has been especially effective this month because it reintroduces the shame motivator of #1 (see above).

3. Go to bed on time.
Sleep deprivation is bad for you. If you’re going to get up earlier, you have to go to sleep earlier. You can get by on coffee and determination for a while, but eventually, you will burn out. We’re trying to establish a sustainable habit. So sustain yourself with adequate sleep. And write.

4. Use a gradual wakeup pre-alarm.
Five minutes before I actually want to get up, I set an alarm that plays soothing music. It’s fairly loud, so it wakes me up, but it’s soothing, so I don’t feel the need to turn it off, and I get to experience the lovely feeling of snuggling down under the covers and knowing it’s not time to get up yet. By the time my real alarm goes off, I’m awake enough to remember why I wanted to get up at this terrible hour to begin with, so I actually get up. There are also various apps that monitor your sleep and wake you at the best time, but this approach works for me.

In case you’re wondering, my musical selection is “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy. It’s starts soft but builds to a climax just as I’m needing to get up. It was also part of the soundtrack at the end of the movie Ocean’s 11, when they’ve successfully stolen millions and are basking in their accomplishment while gazing at the fountains of the Bellagio in Las Vegas. It’s nice to bask.

What are your tricks for waking up early to write?

Insomniacs Anonymous 11-4-16

WriteOwls logo 150 blackYou’re awake. Instead of writing the Great American Novel—or even a mediocre one—you’re reading our blog. Okay, then. We offer a topic; you respond. Let your fellow writers inspire you, and return to that manuscript refreshed.

Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? If so, what did you accomplish during the month? What did you learn about yourself as a writer during the process?

The Power of a Little Encouragement

Megan Norris Jones

Megan Norris Jones

I’ve posted several times about the role our regional SCBWI conference has played in my development as a writer. I can’t recommend it enough for improving your craft, networking with other writers, and expanding your knowledge of the industry. Laura posted about missing the conference last week, but being invigorated by the knowledge that two of our group won awards. Well, guess what? I won an award!

As soon as I sat back down with that beautiful piece of paper in my hands, my mind was racing through all the steps to my novel’s publication, ending with rave reviews and a long and successful career. I do realize that I have a lot of work to do between now and then, but that’s the power of a little bit of encouragement. A publishing professional said, “Hey, good job. I like that story,” and suddenly I have the renewed passion and energy to press on through the long, slow journey ahead. Continue reading

Night Owl vs. Lark

Megan Norris Jones

Megan Norris Jones

I’ve been having trouble finding time to write lately. It’s a common problem—one I’ve solved before and will probably have to solve again as life changes and what used to work works no longer. There’s just not enough time for everything I need and want to do. But writing is important, so I’m setting aside time for it.

But what time? I can’t seem to lay claim to any time during the day on a regular basis, so I might have to start treating daytime writing as a lucky bonus. That leaves me either getting up early to write or staying up late to do it. Continue reading

Insomniacs Anonymous 1-23-15



You’re awake. Instead of writing the Great American Novel—or even a mediocre one—you’re reading our blog. Okay, then. We offer a topic; you respond. Let your fellow writers inspire you, and return to that manuscript refreshed.

There are so many other hobbies out there. Why did you decide to write?