Kelly Maher


Early morning writer

This morning I logged a little over 2100 words on Project Femur in an hour and five minutes this morning. Now, this is one of my more “speedy” mornings. On average, it takes me an hour and fifteen minutes, if not a teensy bit longer, to get the 2000 words in for the day. I recognize this is a very fast pace for many people. This is not something I learned overnight. Like my mentor in fast writing, Ann Aguirre, says, you have to build the muscles to meet the pace.

I got myself to a point where I knew I could write a novel at a pace of 500 words every day. I decided that pace was too slow to meet my personal goals that I set for myself last year. I stretched myself to shooting for 1000 words a day every day. That pace was, surprisingly, not sustainable for me. I did some hard reflection and realized I needed to change my goals to work in “break time” over the weekends. When I did the math to figure out what output I’d need to produce to have a finished first draft in the time frame I allotted myself by writing only on weekdays, I realized the number wasn’t *too* far from 2000. I figured I could do that, provided I gave myself the break. Big bonus: I’d have an even more productive pace!

Part of the transition from 1000 words/day/every day to 2000 words/day/Monday through Friday was also an acceptance that I do not write well at night despite being a natural night owl. I experimented with the schedule of dragging myself out of bed earlier than normal to write before I headed into my day job. Now, I’m fortunate in that my workplace offers a flexible start time. As long as I’m at my desk by 9:30 am, I’m on time. I just have to stay later in the day. For me, this was an acceptable trade off as it meant I was completely done with the production part of the workday when I got home from the day job. I can easily handle the administrative tasks related to my writing, which includes social media activity, in the evenings.

The benefits to me for being a morning writer are numerous:

  1. My brain is not fully awake, so I can submerse myself in the story.
  2. I live on the East Coast, so most of my friends haven’t woken up yet and therefore aren’t on social media yet, which makes it easier to ignore.
  3. My brain hasn’t been wiped out by my day job which involves a fair amount of analyzation of books.
  4. I have a discreet amount of time in which to write and meet my daily goal.

Those are the big points, for me, for being a morning writer. I’m in no way saying this is easy because there are days when I want to reach into my laptop and strangle my characters while yelling “TALK TO ME, GODDAMMIT!!!!” It’s also *really* hard to drag my ass out of a warm and cozy bed when it’s cold, dark, and dreary outside.

You really have to evaluate what your process is, and if this kind of schedule fits into your existing commitments and goals. It works for me and has certainly helped me to be an exponentially more productive writer than I was a year ago. The next step is figuring out how to do editing, as I have discovered I’m so not a morning editor. I need a more awake and aware brain for that function 🙂

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