Of the many things that I have learned about the process of writing, one of the most significant (and the most impactful) is the ability to regularly carve out a “Writer’s Hour” (or me time it is generally called) for yourself. Speaking generally, it means that you find an hour (or a couple) in a day when you untether yourself from the daily hustle and indulge yourself in one thing that you really love. In my case — Writing.
When I started writing I was so smitten by it that I started doing many things at once. I started reading books about writing. Repeated in my mind the famous sentences I stumbled upon. Would pick up a pen and start writing whenever the inspiration struck me. And for a brief period of time, I even started getting up early in the morning and penning my thoughts first thing in the day.
And the results started showing up.
The traffic started coming on my personal blogging site. My Medium Write-ups started gaining an audience. I got published in a couple of online journals. And for the first time in my life, I started getting an appreciation for something that was my own.
But in this newfound recognition (however meager it was) I stopped doing one thing that was making the real difference. Getting up early in the morning to write and having a “Writer’s Hour” free from any kind of distraction.
The Writer’s Hour.
Earlier when I used to find some free time, I would spend it browsing the internet or catching up on yet another episode on Netflix. But with this newfound love for writing, I started using that time to pen my thoughts. So much that I started getting up in the morning to write.
For around six months, without realizing how much it is contributing, I would get up early to write with surprising results. The ideas came floating by, and my hand, like an assembly line, kept on churning out one article after another.
My personal blog’s rank started growing in Alexa Rankings. I started getting hundreds of likes on Medium. A few of my articles got published in Online Journals. It gave me, a shy introvert guy, one thing that I’d lacked all my life — a belief in who I am, how I am.
But then success (however tiny it was) started getting into my head. I started believing (over) on my ability to write. I started focusing more on the stats, rather on the next piece I should write. And voila, I stopped doing many things — and most importantly I stopped having that Writer’s Hour that was making all the difference. And the momentum that I had generated could take me only so far.
There is a magic in the morning.
I realized this when I started getting up in the morning. It is an unusual feeling. When you get up at the usual hours, you are already programmed to do stuff that you have been doing all your life. Freshen up, get ready, run for office/school. After years of conditioning, our minds are trained to zone out everything else but these task of getting ready for the day ahead. And that continues throughout the day. Creativity can’t grow in such environment.
But if you get up in the morning, say at four or five, your mind is at ease, almost automatically.
You wake up when the whole world is asleep. When the sun is still hours away from showing up and steal the greyness of the world away. When everything is so quiet, so still, only you moving in this world. You are unique in those moments. And you start feeling this stillness, around you — a calming effect — and soon this stillness finds a way to within you, to the deepest part of your core — your Soul.
In these days of constant chatter and hustle, constant ringing and notifications, this stillness is precious and powerful. So overpowering that you will at once start liking this stillness. It starts speaking to you. Your jaded mind is calmed. Your stressed thoughts relieved. And you feel light, lighter than the air. You are overcome with this amazing feeling of you can do things that you’ve never done.
And for me, it worked wonderfully. I would wake up in the morning and get freshen up. Slip into the chair, fire up my laptop. And then without letting myself drawn into an endless browsing session, I would start to write.
I would write and write and write.
For an hour or two at least.
And it stopped being a work then, stopped being a task that I was supposed to do. Instead, it became an elixir, a medicine of life, a leisure that I did for my own sake, to make me feel good. For my own love.
It’s my third year of writing. I have learned a lot of things about writing. I also have unlearned many things too. And this is part of the process — to learn and unlearn — that’s how you grow in any endeavor of your choosing.
But one thing I’m pretty sure — finding “Writer’s Hour” for yourself is extremely important for any writer. An hour when your mind is free from any conscious or subconscious bondages.
And this is true not only for writers. If you are a painter find “Painter’s Hour,” if a designer, find “Designer’s hour,” it doesn’t’’ matter. But what matters if finding it. Finding it as if your life depended on it, and then protecting it, come what may. For nothing can give you more happiness than a feeling of creating something of your own, that you love.