Set my alarm for 4:40am this morning and actually managed to fight the urge to go back to bed. I’m a little groggy now at midday, but still happy for the effort.
I’ve written before about creativity being a somewhat finite resource, at least on a daily basis. The thing is, I’m not sure I really believe that. Yesterday I had a whole day of fairly repetitive, meticulous work, and when I got home I thought that the several hour block of time I had would be more than sufficient to write 1200 words .
I barely got to 250. My mind was mud. I was tired, and just not in the right head-space. Thankfully I was at least able to come to this realization quickly, rather than powering through which is my usual method for dealing with these problems. I got to bed at a reasonable hour, and woke up at an unreasonable one.
In terms of physical tiredness, it was probably about the same, at least until the first few swigs of my Venti Americano. But there’s something about my early morning brain that is just better able to string sentences together. Before another day of meticulous work, I spent my day happily typing away on my tablet and eating a cranberry-orange scone, and before I knew it I was comfortably over the 1200 word target.
Some of this may be due to the type of work. Most of my original composition is blog posts during the day. The majority of my evening time is given over to research, reading, and programming, which is a little less sensitive to my head-space. Perhaps if I built up the mental muscles again this late night timing wouldn’t be a problem, we all go through cycles of this, but I also think there’s something to the “first fruits” idea.
It’s easy to let work or the things we have to do be put ahead of the more creative projects we want to do. We think, sometimes rightly, that sleep is a more valuable resource than time, and that it’s better to have 8 hours sleep and to write in the evening, than six hours and to write in the morning. But it does make it easier to get through the more “worky” parts of my day when I know that I have also accomplished something toward my own goals. This may mean that when I get home all I’ll want to do is veg out and watch TV, but I still got something done.
There’s a saying, I think it’s from the UK, that “a change is as good as a rest.” Often this is said with irony, but in the case of this morning at least, it was quite true.