I was reading a long post last night about how keeping a journal can “change your life.”
I am a lifelong diarist. Since I could write, misspellings be damned, I have kept some sort of journal. Even when I blog, I usually have a notebook. Pen on paper is never quite matched by a keyboard. When I was in high school I would take one notebook with me everywhere and it was a mishmash of short stories, doodles, hockey scores and free-flowing thoughts. I still have them.
This article recommends journalling first thing in the morning – 30 minutes before you do anything else. It’s the best way to release all that your subconscious mind was working hard on while you slept, the author says.
I have heard of morning pages before. I know great writers force themselves to sit down for 10, 15, 30 minutes or until they have written a certain number of words every morning. I have wanted to do this, to unleash my creativity and get out the book I still feel is inside me. But morning pages has never been the thing for me. Now more than ever, really.
As the mother of a young child I very rarely get to decide what the first thing I do in the morning will be. She generally wants to chat for a bit, needs help with her breakfast, wants me to do her hair or to help her pick out her outfit. Then the dog needs to go out, and we need to get to the bus, which means I need to get dressed.
And then, once I have waved her off, I get my coffee and sit down to work, whatever I learned while asleep utterly lost, I guess.
There are suggestions that I wake up earlier than her, get my time in before she gets up. But the idea of waking up at 4:30 am is not that appetizing. Especially as I would then lose my evenings. I don’t even know how early I would have to go to bed to wake up and fell human at 4:30 am. I am and have always been a night owl. My brain really starts working around 10 or 11 pm. My ideal wake up time would be more like 9 am, maybe 10.
Even if I did wake up at 4:30 and try to make a morning person out of myself, the first thing I always want to do is tidy my desk, fill my coffee, read the news, make a to do list. I have great difficulty just diving in to what I need to do. First I need to prepare myself for the dive. Only when things are tidy, when I have an idea of what I need to get done, when the kid is occupied or out the door, when my coffee cup is filled, then I can start staring at the blank page.