the 5 a.m. writing habit.

Source: Unsplash // David Mao

Bloody hell, Ornella, why the hell would you want to wake up at 5 in the morning to bash out 500 words of writing that you’re not even sure you like?

As you can tell, my brain is equally baffled by this choice I’ve made to work towards waking up at 5 every morning in order to sit down and write. Personally, I’d rather hit snooze and roll over and use that time to do something a lot less productive and a lot more inviting: sleep. 5 a.m. is the time when the duvet has warmed to the perfect temperature and even a toe out of the covers feels like a venture into Siberia. I am a self-proclaimed chronic procrastinator, so 5 a.m. is also just five hours after I finally got into bed at midnight, even though I had said I would be asleep by ten o’clock the night before.

Bref (as the French would say), I don’t really want to wake up at 5 a.m. but I do want to be a writer.

One of the main distinctions between aspiring writers and plain ol’ writers is that the latter has figured out that writers write. They show up every day, put fingers to keyboard, pen to paper, and just write. Aspiring writers such as myself wait for the magical blessings from the Goddess of Motivation who has a pretty long-waiting list and starts to get tetchy when she grants you a bucket-load of motivation and all you do with it is open a Twitter account, spend the week tweeting that you’re writing and forget about both the writing and the tweeting by the 8th day.

But why 5 a.m.?” I hear you ask.

Firstly, I’ve done it before. There was a long stretch last year, during which I was running a beauty and lifestyle blog, where I would wake up at that time to make sure I could fit in writing, personal development and exercise before 9 a.m.. I was a productivity machine, and having the entire morning to get things done gave the illusion that I had Beyoncé-level of hours in the day to accomplish my goals. Secondly, 5 a.m. is a magical hour where the world is still, the brain still unaffected by exterior sources (provided, of course, that you don’t start the morning on social media) and there are seven hours until midday which is ample time to whiz through a realistic to-do list and still have the rest of the day ahead of you. And finally, I am a morning person. Though through force of habit I am progressively becoming a night owl, I know that naturally, I am at my chirpiest in the mornings. Plus breakfast foods are my favourite.

In the spirit of accepting that things don’t happen overnight, I have accepted that I will not suddenly wake up at 5 a.m. and jump out of bed, ready to sit down and type after months of hitting the snooze button until I could realistically hit it no more. Instead, I am going to progressively inch towards my goal, day by day. I am currently aiming to wake up at 6 a.m. every day to write the draft of my Medium posts, using Twitter to hold myself accountable.

It’s a raging internal battle every time that alarm goes off, but it’s a battle I intend to win every morning. I have goals, and a 5 a.m. wake up is one of them.

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