It’s shortly after five in the morning on a Saturday, and I’m awake. It takes a while for the bleariness to resolve, for my head to clear. I make a cup of hot British tea and slip headphones on with my thumpiest, happiest music.
I’m a night owl. Part-vampire. A creature of the darkness. So why-O-why am I awake at this profane hour, writing in the dark while P sleeps? This is not my time. This is not normal. 5am is where perky joggers live, as in, people who manage to be perky and jog at the same time. Those upbeat, spandex-wearing freaks.
Forgive me, morning friends. I left my manners back in the standard time zone. Come see me in an hour. At 5:01am I am ready to scratch out eyes. By 5:10 I am formed solely of silent glares and repressed sighs. Thus begins my slow crawl to wakefulness.
Why am I awake at 5 today? Because I’m not just part-vampire. I’m also part-chameleon. I’m an ambitious, envious, chameleon woman. In examining the delta between my own writing habits and those of the people I most admire I see gaps. Gaps to fill in with the putty of hard work. And hard work comes easiest in the early morning, before the city wakes up.
By 5:40, I relish the dark silence of the early morning, my fingers flying across the keyboard.
Yesterday I woke up at five, hit my ideal word count (good words too!) by noon, and I was free for the rest of the day. I wandered the city streets like the shambling dead all afternoon to avoid falling into premature slumber. Walking just to stay awake. Pounding espresso to make it through the transition.
(why do I do this to myself?)
Hush, grumpy Cheri. We’re copying those we admire. We’re seeking. We’re striving. Up at 5am, cursing under my breath. 5000 new words of fiction due by lunchtime. Then my “other” day begins. The one when I live in the real world and not one of the imagination. But first, the work.
In my mind’s eye, I see the perky spandex people running outside in the dark, ignoring or tolerating their discomfort, doggedly making their way forward because they want to be better than they are. Not because they have to be, but because they want to be.
And I get it.