Forty Cups of Coffee

I must be crazy… and yet, it’s working! (The sceptic in me feels obliged to add: ‘so far’)

I joined Jeff Goins’ 15 Day Writing Challenge.  Yes, me, who never joins anything that requires commitment, promises, hard work, interacting with community, disclosing stuff about myself…   Yesterday was Day 2 of the Callenge and it required us to get up this morning two hours earlier than usual and just write, without logging onto the Internet, without blogging, without distractions.  You get the picture.

Except that I usually get up at 5 a.m., to have a bit of quiet time to write (and because I am a bit of an insomniac) before all hell of breakfasts, family demands, emails, business and admin breaks loose.  So this meant that today I got up at 3 a.m.  I did so through my natural biological alarm clock of ‘worryhead’.  I stumbled to the guestroom and snuggled under the duvet with my brand new, gorgeous A4 Rhodia notebook… and actually wrote, for the first time in a month, on my novel.

Sure, I started writing one chapter and then suddenly discovered I wanted to write the final one instead.  But I got two hours of uninterrupted thought and considerable amount of writing done.  Then I went back to bed for another two hours.

Will I keep this up?  Not the 3 a.m. start, but I think the 5 a.m. slot from now on will be dedicated to my novel in longhand, rather than to poetry or writing in my diary.  Nice and necessary though those things are, completing my novel is now top priority. And the satisfaction of having done your word count, come what may today, is priceless!

I am now on my third cup of coffee, and have a business call lined up in two minutes.  I suspect I will fall short of 40 cups of coffee (only just, though), but I can’t help thinking of the Bill Haley song.

24 thoughts on “Forty Cups of Coffee”

  1. Hrrmm, I normally shoot for between 4:30am and 5am to get up and tackle my work, but if I did 3am I’d be stabbing people through out the day!

    1. I may still do that in a caffeine-fuelled fit of anger! The toughest thing is that I have to have my business head on all day today and tomorrow, lots of stuff going on. So maybe it wasn’t the perfect moment to do this nighttime writing stint. But I’ve learnt from my mistakes in the past: if you wait for the perfect moment, it never comes.

  2. What time do you go to bed though?!! I am a bit of an owl so if I got up early too I may as well not bother laying my head on the pillow….

    Great post though. I agree with your comment above.If you wait for the right moment it always disappears before you can grasp it in the muddle of the general day to day necessities of life…

    1. My husband is a night owl, and I don’t get to see him much during the day or evening, so I try to sit up with him. What typically happens is that I doze off while we watch something on TV, so he gives me a gentle shake and says: ‘Why don’t you go upstairs to sleep properly?’

  3. Marina,
    I’m doing the Jeff Goins challenge too and have found the early mornings to be such a boost to my productivity.
    I often wonder about writing longhand versus typing but find that I do mostly notes that way and not fluid writing. Do you write the same using both? Maybe I’ll try my notebook for writing rather than notes tomorrow morning and see how it feels…and hope I can read my own handwriting when I’m done.
    Keep it up. But not before 3 am! Ouch!

    1. Thanks for your support, I’ve just visited your blog, love the title (not the verbs). I notice you are in France too, although in a much sunnier area than mine! I find I have lost my handwriting capabilities since using the computer for everything, so yes, normally I use it more for notes. N.B. I haven’t read back what I wrote this morning though – it may be indecipherable!

  4. OMG, I could neither do 3 am nor 5 am, not as a one off, not regularly. I just don’t function. BUT I do agree with the premise. So when I write (properly write, not ‘just’ blogging etc) I turn off the phone and the doorbell, I don’t access the Internet except for research, and I bar myself from social networking. I’d turn off the mobile too if it weren’t for the fact that I need to be contactable **somehow** in case something’s the matter with the kids at school….

    Well done you, I’m taking my hat off to you (yes, the one that I never wear but you know what I mean) and buying you an extra special double latte from Pret, like in days gone by…. …. ….

  5. I think the early mornings are going to be when I focus the best on my writing. I finished a chapter of my novel this morning too, and I’ve also had plenty of coffee. Nice job!

  6. Oh my gosh! When you pick a challenge you pick a tough one!! LOL You’re off to a great start. 🙂 I need to have my rest at night or I’m worthless so I know I would fail miserably with this one. Mornings are my best time for writing though, after hubby leaves for work. And I don’t count blogging as writing. You’re doing awesome!

  7. I’m SO impressed! I’ll be interested to hear how it works for you as you keep going. I’ll bet you write tons. This part is the hardest for me, no matter the time of day: “just write, without logging onto the Internet, without blogging, without distractions.”

    1. I hear you (and struggle with it myself). I think it helped that the laptop was downstairs, where it was dark, gloomy and slightly cold, so I wanted to be cosy in bed.

  8. You are an inspiration, what a fantastic challenge that could turn into a discipline. No matter how it pans out, you have exeprienced what happens when you open a period of time to exclusively write/think on your novel. Now it just depends on how much you really want it 🙂

    1. Ouch! Yes, you are right. Do I want to finish the novel or do I want to be a dilettante having fun (and oh yes, I am having fun!) online forever? It’s easy to pretend I am writing, when all I am writing is blog posts, diary entries, tiny stories and some procrastinatory poems. I have some professional engagements coming up over the next few days, so I hope I can keep up with the challenge. Thanks for your encouragement!

  9. Why is it that everytime I come to your blog I start thinking about getting back to writing my book? It’s an oooooooooolllllllllddddd book, just dying to get finished. Or maybe just dying. But somehow, waking up at ohdarkthirty in the morning sounds so sly and secretive. 20 cups of coffee, on the other hand, sounds like too much. 🙂
    Glad it’s working for you. Stick to the challenge!

  10. Wow. 3 am. I am impressed!
    It’s amazing the and bribes and lies and dirty tricks we have to play on ourselves to get the writing done, isn’t it? Sometimes, I wish I could just shake myself to get myself to do it!

    1. I know! And this is supposed to be something that we really enjoy! Can you imagine the dirty tricks I need to employ to convince myself to do admin or clean my car or boring stuff like that…

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