Finding the Time to Write


Maybe you want to write. Maybe you feel you have to. But you never seem to find the time. And then, when the weekend finally comes, you find that reading a new book or going out with friends comes more easily. Continue reading “Finding the Time to Write”

On Waking Up Early

Woman sunrise waking early morning

Waking up early is one of the best things we can do for our lives. On some days we have no choice but to tear ourselves away from the bed early to go to work or school, and we dread it. This is often why on our free days there’s always the temptation to sleep late. But it’s especially then that waking early can have a positive impact on our lives.

When you wake early, you lengthen your day. Those minutes you gain give you the chance to do more of what you want to do. Also, they help you make the most of your cognitive capacity. According to our biological clock, the brain reaches its peak around 10 a.m. Waking up at least an hour and a half or two hours before 10 a.m. means we can start work fresh and gradually  improve our performance. 

For writers and other artists, waking up early is great. Many of the world’s most celebrated authors, from Hemingway to Roald Dahl, used to wake up early. When you can work or study in the morning, you can finish your tasks by noon, and then you have the second part of the day free for other things. In this way you also avoid distractions, many of which tend to happen in the second half of the day.

Now I know that “early” means different hours for different people. For some, 8 a.m. is early. Others won’t settle for any definition of “early” that’s not before 7 a.m. The important thing here is for us to constantly ask ourselves these questions — Am I waking up early enough? Could I wake up earlier? 

Maybe lately we’ve been waking at 8:30 a.m. That’s not bad. But if we could wake around 8, that would be even better. We’d have more time for ourselves, and our productivity would usually also increase.

I like to wake early even on days when I don’t have to. On some weekends, I even like to set my alarm early so I can tear myself from the bed, open the window, and glance out at the slowly coming morning, while the coldness stares back at me. When I begin to shiver, I close the window and go back to bed to listen to an audiobook or to meditate. In this way I feel I can really appreciate the comfort of my bed, and the warm ease of not having to go anywhere or do anything. 

By contrast, if I wake at 9:30 or 10, disappointment would then be my bedfellow, and I would need at least an hour to sober up after my slumber. A sense of having missed something would linger with me, almost like not having made it in time to an event I really wanted attend   

Now I must admit I don’t always wake as early as I would like to. But this usually happens because I go to bed late. Of all hours of the day, I like the midnight hour the best, and often I read or write up until 1 a.m. I often have to give up one hour in the morning for that. But even so, I usually manage 8 a.m. at least, which isn’t so bad, especially when you consider than people who sleep 7 hours tend to live longest.

The secret to being on your feet early isn’t having a good alarm. It’s getting good sleep at night. We may force ourselves to wake early after just a few hours of sleep, but if the quality of our sleep is low, we won’t have enough energy to make use of the hours we’ve gained. Ideally, we want to wake early in a natural way, by means of our eyelids, not of our ears.

Waking up early is like doing a pushup. It’s a bit hard, especially if you haven’t practiced lately. But if you manage to do one, the second becomes easier, and before long, you discover you’re in better shape.

Waking up early may come more easily to some of us than to others, but ultimately it’s a habit. One that helps us do more of what we like, and do it better.

At what hour do you usually wake up?

On Accepting Our Writing

Woman reading stack of books

Quite often, the hardest part about writing something isn’t the writing itself, but reading it after. Despite the effort and enthusiasm that went into it, it may feel not quite what we hoped it would be.

You often read or hear about how some great writer or other rewrote a scene or chapter countless times, and still wasn’t entirely happy with the published version.

Writing, as with most things in life, doesn’t usually come out like we like. The writing of ideas or scenes that we do in our head is quite another matter from the writing on the page. Sometimes the writing on the page is uplifting and inspiring — it may make us laugh or cry or feel good about ourselves. But quite often, it seems only a fragment chipped off from something greater that happened inside of us.

What do we do then? Do we crumpsle the paper and throw it away? Do we delete the document? Language is but one dimension of the multi-faceted experience that is life. It is limiting. If there’s freedom in writing, it is only in accepting its limitations.

Writing isn’t butterfly-catching. Or at least writing prose isn’t.  It’s more like pottery, a steady, focused work, that calls for the right tools and materials, and above all, for the patience to make mistakes and keep on laboring undaunted. No word is wasted, because every bit of effort helps to wire the brain and the hands for writing.

There’s no promise that with experience or enthusiasm we’ll achieve greatness, but then why would we need such a promise? Billions of people write every day. Some of them are called writers, or like to call themselves so. They may nurture the hope of becoming authors one da. . They may write every day, stacking up manuscripts.

What drives them to write word after word is the writing itself, the synergy of mind and body that dives deep into the unconscious only to emerge again above the surface in moments of lucidity. Sometimes the words themselves build something greater than what the imagination conceived when it wrote the first word on paper. And those moments make the writing worth it, even when the only reader that will experience them is the reader in us.

With each piece of writing that we do not throw away or disparage, we become better, and a bit more confident. It then becomes easier to keep on writing and pile one word upon another, building an artwork that celebrates humanity, language, and the imagination.

There’s no promise that writing our days away will make us rich or famous. But satisfaction is guaranteed, and with that comes the peacefulness of the mind that knows it has freed itself from its fantasies and sins, its sorrows and its dreams.


What do you do with writing that doesn’t satiafy you? Do you throw it away? Archive it? Rewrite it?