Time, Energy, and Kids

Writing is a time consuming vocation. Finding the time and conditions under which a person can work varies from person to person. Some people can write with a bustle of activity swirling around them. Some people need peace and quiet to write. Some people can write in any condition. I need peace and quiet.

In a household where two of the three children are aged two and under prevents any stretch of quality writing time from about 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sure the youngest two kids take naps, but rarely at the same time. So I find my writing time either before they wake for the day or after they finally conk out for the night.

I am a night owl, but I am often distracted by things other than my writing at night. At night, I get distracted by digg, slashdot, and Zen Habits RSS feeds, CNN articles, and Chicago Cubs games (if they play at night). Night is a time I also try to find time for my wife. Television is rarely a distraction for me. We do not subscribe to cable or satellite service, as we do not have the money. We only pull in ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and PBS. My energy is also running down by the time the kids get to sleep. It does not help when I stay up until 2 a.m., because my kids will be waking by 7 a.m. It is long time I give flight to the night owl.

Since my college days, I have never been much of a morning person. I like the feeling of getting up early, being active as the sun rises, and getting a few things accomplished before most of my family and neighbors awake. But it is hard to get myself out of bed in the morning… because I keep such late hours. At 39, it is getting harder to burn the candle at both ends. It has less to do with my age than it does having young kids to raise. To better keep up with them, I have to change to being an early riser.

How early? I am thinking of 4 or 4:30 a.m., so I can get at least two hours of writing in each day. I seem to filter out the distractions better in the wee hours of the morning than I do in the wee hours of the morning… um… night. I approach it with the attitude of “since I am dragging myself out of bed at such an early hour, I had better be doing whatever it is I arose early to do.” It has worked in the past for me.

Will it work this time? As long as I stay disciplined, it will. Or perhaps it will only work until my kids discover that “Dad’s awake. Let’s go see what he’s doing.” Then I’ll have to become a night owl again.


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