Monday, June 28, 2010

Twenty Minutes Internet Free

Usually I blog early in the morning. It's one of the first things I do when I wake up. An average day during my summer vacation starts with me waking up, checking my e-mail, checking Facebook, checking my bloglist and then blogging. It's a process that I've always enjoyed, but it usually takes about an hour of my morning. However, this morning I didn't get to my blogging until now (almost noon...gasp!). There's a reason for it, and it has to do with something I learned last week.

One of the best pieces of advice I learned at The Kenyon Review Writers Workshop is also one of the simplest. Ron Carlson, my workshop leader talking about the necessity of writing as soon as you get up. He told us that it didn't need to be a lot, twenty minutes or so, but kept stressing that the very first thing you should do in the morning is write.

He went on to explain his way of thinking by drawing in references to e-mails, Facebook, blogs, newspapers and google searches that one does in the morning. What do all of these things have in common? They are all OTHER people's thoughts. We are opening ourselves up to everyone else's views, ideas, successes, failures and way of thinking before we let ours come out. He stressed the importance of letting our ideas out through our writing before we begin to let the day creep in.

I couldn't agree more with him. I think I've mentioned that I use the night time (before I go to bed) to do a lot of my plotting and problem solving in my writing. I look forward to this time when I can think throw things in my book when I'm the most relaxed. I find often new ideas sneak in during this time, and I can then write them down in the morning. However, I do what Ron Carlson told us not to do. I get onto the Internet. I start looking at other's thoughts, and I lose my own.

It's a simple change...write for twenty minutes before you check your e-mail (and everything else that connects you to the world).

I started my day with this advice, writing for a bit and then checking e-mail, Facebook, going for my hour walk and then opening myself up to blogs and blogging.

It did allow me to keep my mind uncluttered. It stopped me from getting sucked into everyone else's world, before my own, and I don't have an excuse for not writing because I've already done it.

What do you think? Do you think you could make this change? I challenge you to try it...write twenty minutes every morning before going onto the Internet. I think you're going to like the new start to your day!

11 comments:

Kristan said...

I've done it... and I enjoyed it.... But... For a variety of reasons, for me I think it makes the most sense to get "all that other stuff" out of the way first. Because my mornings are not about me-- I wake up, take care of the dog, drive to work, and figure out what work stuff I need to do that day. Then I check email (usually more to-dos in there) and make my blog rounds. Then I either read until lunch, or if it's taken me a long time, go straight to lunch.

All that leaves me clear (usually) to use my afternoons on my writing. By then I am settled, awake, and have been tumbling a bunch of ideas (other people's and my own) in my head like a washing machine, and now I'm ready to take them out and hang them up to dry, see what's what.

Of course, that's my ideal day. Sometimes work stuff pops up in the afternoon too, and on those days I kick myself for not having written sooner. But the fact is, it feels more like a chore if I do it in the morning, and more like a privilege if I do it in the afternoon. I don't know why, that's just how it is for me.

NOW, all that said, IF I didn't have another job, I think things would be different. My obligations (and thus my feelings about them) would be different. So if I were just writing, I think I would like to "hop to it" right away, and then leave the afternoon for the more administrative tasks. Hopefully I'll get to test that out in a few years. ;)

Pretty Knitty said...

I like the idea of writing while your thoughts are still your own. . .but (at least on my blog) I tend to write at the end of the day, because what I have done and lived that day often shapes what I'd like to say. . .

Christina Lee said...

I think I may try it!!!!! I'll let you know how it goes!

Emily White said...

I'd try it if I didn't have kids. Unfortunately, they always seem to sense when I'm awake and start stirring shortly after. That doesn't leave much for the me time.

Sarah Enni said...

I love writing in the morning. I try to do it as often as I can and it really makes a difference in my mental approach. (Now if I could explain that to my bf, friends, mom, etc etc etc)

Sandy Shin said...

I have heard of this advice before, but never actually followed it -- mostly because I tend to wake up 5 minutes before class begins. However, I will try it out now, during the summer. I agree that it's difficult to get into a writing mind after blogging. :)

Nomes said...

cool advice. I have never thought of it that way...

Lisa Nowak said...

That's a great idea. I did it this morning. When I don't have anywhere to be I often pull out my laptop first thing in the morning and write. My mind seems to be at it's sharpest then.

Kristan said...

Hmm, I realized I should add that I do "morning pages" every day as best I can. So like 10-20 min of freewriting in the morning, maybe not first thing but early, to help free my mind of some clutter and allow me to focus on my story.

I've also generated a lot of good future ideas from this practice. :)

Kathleen said...

It's an interesting idea and probably quite good if you're a morning person. Unfortunately, I am very not a morning person. I tend to get the best results writing in the afternoons and the evenings because that's when my brain seems to really start ticking along.

Horserider said...

I might try this, but I don't think it'll work out for very long. I can't write in the morning. When I roll out of bed and my mind is still running on snail-speed, it's not a good time for me to be writing.

I write best at night and I think that's because I don't have the nagging feeling that I should be doing something else like I do during the day. "It's summer, it's sunny, I should be OUTSIDE" is not exactly the best mindframe for writing. =D