I shy away from giving writing advice -- here on this blog or anywhere else for that matter. But I have found a component of my writing arsenal that seems to work -- at least for me.
You know that adage that has been circling the last number of years in the financial management world? The advice has been to pay yourself first. You've heard this, right? When you get your paycheck deposited into your bank account, you make sure you set aside cash for yourself first: savings, a retirement fund, purchase goals like a family vacation or a new car. Then, you siphon off the portion of your dough you'll need to cover the bills. Mortgage and car payments, the utilities, the groceries. Whatever's left over, well, that's your fun money. Use it to go out for dinner or see a movie, buy a book or some songs on iTunes, heck, get a mani-pedi. Whatever you're into.
Does this model sound familiar? If it doesn't maybe this analogy won't make sense to you...but here goes.
I used to write mostly at night. In the dark, alone, while the house slept. I had youngsters so I was up often through the night anyway. Why not do the writing then? It's not like I was getting the sleep of champions. And guess what? That worked great for a period of my life. I was stressed and my days were so full with a young family and a full-time job (separate from writing). I had a house to look after and so many extended family obligations too.
Now, my children are a bit older and they've taken to getting up early. They no longer wail at all hours of the night, but the reverse has happened. I'm off to bed shortly after they are and then I'm up with the sun. I either throw on a pair of running shoes and get some exercise to clear my noggin and dream up some new madness to write about, or I sit at the computer or curl up with an iPad to actually write down some of that madness.
When I was writing at the end of the day, say, late evening or in the wee hours of the night, I had some incredible runs. Really, I did. Some folks have even liked what I wrote. But now that I'm not tacking my creative need on to the end of my day, I seem to have more energy for it. I'm paying myself first, or, rather, I'm working on my wants and needs ahead of the demands made on me by life. Somehow, some way, every one else gets their due from me. Don't worry. The kids get their milk and some Dad-time. I pay the bills and fix the leaky washing machine. But I'm not absolutely exhausted by the time I get some time to do what I need to do: write. But I do it first, before the day starts shrieking for me to get things done.
I think the writing is fresher. I think the guy who's clacking away at this blog post at the moment is fresher too. And I think he's a little easier-going, if you can believe it.
In truth, I've had an incredible well of creativity the last while, as I've adapted to this new way of doing things. Life changes. We need to roll with it if we're going build anything meaningful. That goes for any creative pursuit, or life in general, don't you think?
My question to you all, writers or creators or citizens among you: When do you write?