Monday, December 6, 2010

Morning Rituals

I stumbled out of bed this morning and smacked face first into the realization that my harmless morning ritual has mutated into a killer addiction.
Quite the wake up call, I tell you.
It started out harmlessly enough. (as all addictions probably do) A year ago I decided to increase my writing output, which meant training myself to get my hours in before the day job. I write my best in the mornings. When I am fresh. Before the evil day job gets all zombiefied and eats my brain.
So, I decided to go to bed earlier, so I could get up two hours earlier. I set the alarm for 4 am, in the hopes I could get some hard core writing in between 4:30 & 7 am. But when I got up the next morning, at 4 am on the nose, my brain refused to follow my body to the computer room. It slept in.
Now, I have never been a big coffee drinker. However, I have friends who extol at length about the glories of this caffeinated beverage. So I bought a pot and a grinder and a pound of coffee.  I ground the coffee the night before, set the machine and went to bed. The next morning I stumbled out of bed, hit brew, took a shower and came back to fill my mug.
Holy Guatemala!! (coffee that is) This stuff was better than a extra three hours of sleep! Not only did it jump start my brain in record time, but it revved up my creativity and focus. My productivity skyrocketed that first morning. So I brewed more the next morning and then the next and my output for that week eclipsed anything I’d ever done before.
Before long my morning ritual became stumble out of bed, hit the brew button on the coffee pot, jump in the shower, grab a mug of coffee and sip..sip…sip while checking email/twitter. After half an hour of playing, the coffee would kick in and I’d sit down to write. And I’ve sailed along with this ritual since that night sometime mid- September 2009. Until last night. You see, last night when I went to grind my coffee beans for the next morning’s brew, I discovered I’d ran out of coffee
. “That’s okay,” I told myself with the confidence of a drug addict unaware of just how deep they’d fallen, “I’ve been getting up early long enough now I doubt I’ll even need the extra pick me up.”
 It was apparent minutes into my morning session that I was in deep doodoo. It’s one thing to scrounge the mind for the perfect word when it’s something like boggled, or supercalligragilistic. But it’s something entire different when the mind won’t cough up simple words like and, or but, or he. And then there was the whole nodding off at the computer screen thing, which I haven’t done in a year. My output for the morning was a big, fat zilch.

It was a grim wake up call, I tell you, which led to a sobering realization.
I better stash a extra bag of beans around the house so this never happens again.
I wrote my first book with a jar of Jelly Bellys sitting beside my monitor. I kicked that habit with no trouble at all. My second book I wrote with a never ending supply of sunflower seeds. These days there’s nary a sunflower seed in sight. But I suspect this newest ritual is going to be impossible to kick.
What about the rest of you? Any rituals that accompany your writing sessions?


Brenda said...

I'm with you and coffee--I need it!!!

Trish said...

The funny part of this is that I don't even like the taste of coffee. To force myself to chug the stuff back I have to smother it with French vanilla creamer.

The things we do for our craft.