Friday Speak Out!: Writing at 4 a.m. Will Change Your Life

Friday, October 13, 2017
by Amber Roshay

My husband squeezes my hand. I slowly start to awaken. We slip out of bed, past our sleeping nine-month-old daughter, into the living room. It’s 4 am. The coffee, on a timer, percolates, filling the room with a warm vanilla flavor.

I splash some almond milk in a cup and the contents of a packet of stevia. We wait for the coffee to be ready. We haven’t spoken.

Once the coffee is ready, we clutch our mugs and head over to our computers. I turn on my laptop. “What are you going to write about today?” asks my husband.

As a mother of two under two finding time to write is hard; long gone are the lazy mornings staring at the computer screen, in between episodes of Game of Thrones. When you have diaper changes, nap coordination, and general exhaustion to combat, you don’t have time to procrastinate. Each second counts. So, when I found out I was pregnant again, I thought my writing days were over. But, I was wrong.

My husband gave me the answer. After our second child was born, he decided to get up at 4 a.m. to study. He was changing careers and needed the extra time to read. To get enough sleep to rise by 4 am, he needed to go to bed early. One day I got up with him.

Some days I’m completely uninspired and have nothing to say; other days I feel anxious because I know how limited my time is and the kids will be awake by 6 am. But, regardless of how I feel, I write. For two hours every day, I spend time on my craft.

I’ve never had consistent writing schedule before. I’ve always been one of those writers who live off of inspiration. But I don’t have time to be inspired. At 6 am my kids will wiggle awake and make their demands known. I found that if I start my day, doing something completely for me, I’m better able to enjoy my time with them.

The best part is that since I’ve kept to a writing schedule, I’ve reconnected with my husband. For two hours, we are together, without our children, doing what we love. Not to mention, there are fewer distractions, since no-one else is up at that time, and you have to be quiet in order to not to wake the kids.

So, you might think it’s crazy to get up at 4 a.m. for anything, but if you try it, I think you’ll start to see how much writing you really can get done.

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Amber Roshay is a freelance writer, instructor, and proud mom. She has an MFA in Creative Writing and teaches English as a Second Language at the University of California San Diego. Her work has been featured in and forthcoming in The Write Life and You and Me Magazine. She’s the co-founder of Pen and Parent, the place for people who write while parenting. When she’s not writing or mothering, hopefully, she’s sleeping 
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Amber--I sometimes take advantage of those early-morning hours. Bravo for you having the energy to write from 4-6.

(I love the image of you and your husband whispering--if you're talking at all--so you don't wake up your little ones. ;)

Good luck with your future writing endeavors. And enjoy your kids. They grow up soooo quickly.

Unknown said...

My kids are growing up so quickly! I don't know what time zone you're in, but it says you wrote your comment at 4 am, so I think you must be taking advantage of those early hours. Truly, waking up before my kids to write has really made it possible to be someone other than a mom. Thanks for your nice feedback! Here's to 4 am!

Margo Dill said...

I am not quite as early as 4am--but I am also an early morning writer/get up and do stuff person. I love it! :)

Angela Mackintosh said...

That's awesome, Amber! I feel most inspired to write right after I have my first cup of coffee in the morning, too, but it's usually around 7am. This morning, I knocked out 4k! Probably needs some serious revision, but at least it's down.

Pen and Parent looks great! Congrats on the site, and love the name. :)

Unknown said...

Thanks Margo and Angela! I'm so glad to connect with other writers who get up early. I can't believe you knocked out 4K this morning. I'm totally impressed. I need to learn how to become a faster writer. I just get distracted really easily. I guess that;s why I have to have a schedule. I think that's the best part about getting up early!

Mary Horner said...

Very inspiring post, I'm one of those who doesn't like to get up early, but sometimes my body betrays me and wakes up anyway. I'll have to try writing next time it happens (instead of watching Netflix!)

Unknown said...

I love Netflix too! I'm glad you found the post inspirational. I know people must think I'm crazy, but 4 a.m is a great time to write. I just have to make sure I go to bed early!

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