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Words Before Work

Updated: Aug 29, 2022

The hardest thing about writing, for me, is finding the time where I can be completely focused on the words in front of me rather than distracted by the million-and-one things my brain says I should be doing. At the same time, I write so much better when I have a routine. It's a conundrum; one I decided to do something about.

In my house, my husband goes to work before 7 AM, and my shifts normally don't start until after 9, leaving me about two hours where I have nothing but our fur babies to deal with. Usually I spend those hours snoring with my dog and cat curled up next to me, enjoying the feeling of being able to starfish and take up my whole bed. But I needed a change.

In December, I decided to utilize that two hours to the best of my ability: to make words. It seemed so easy at first and the words flowed. I hit 2k the very first day and I was on a high. I went to work, almost floating, and excited to keep going. I thought I had found a way to both get the words I needed to meet my goals, and start my day with a sense of purpose.

But like any other high, each day I found it harder and harder to sit down and focus. Day two I only hit 1300, day three 1000, and by day four I was sitting at my desk while my dog slept on the bed. Those intrusive thoughts returned: "The laundry needs doing", "You didn't clean the couch off like you said you would", and my personal bad habit, "You could spend just a few more minutes asleep, the bed looks so comfy". It suddenly became much harder to sit still and get the words, and after a week I was back to my old habits of rolling over when my husband went to work and catching just a few more zz's. Every once in awhile, I still wake up early, sit at my desk, and pound out a few thousand words before beginning my day but I never fret if I miss a day (or six) or if I only manage a few dozen words.

My Words Before Work pledge may not be as easy to hold to, but I learned two things: it's not about the routine and beating myself up for it doesn't help. If I can make myself sit down and write three words, it's a win. If I can't, if I let the laundry come first before work, or if I do just want to lay in my blankets and watch another episode of Law and Order, that's okay. I'll just have to push harder the next time I do sit down and try to make words.

It's Words Anytime now, not just Words Before Work. And that's okay.


About the author: Leigh Davis is a Southern historical fiction author and co-founder of The Writer's Workout. You can find her on twitter: @leighdbooks and her blog: LeighDBlogs.


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