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Waking up at 5 a.m. when I'm a night owl
I always said that the worst part of being a mom was having to get up early to get Emily to school. Xane is a totally different situation where they don’t actually go to in person school any longer so this doesn’t apply to them.
So, that said, why am I suddenly an advocate of getting up early? Why do I actually fumble into the dark Maine morning, flopping out of bed, blinking against the glare of the computer screen?
It’s because I can get a lot done this way. I wake up early now so that I can write my own novels before I head into the much more stable income of editing other people and coaching them. More stable? Gasp.
It’s more stable because traditionally published novelists only are paid (typically) twice a year and that’s only if their books have earned out their advances (the money a publisher pays up front for a novel). That’s a whole other post.
WAKING UP EARLY
When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at 4 a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at 9 p.m.
I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.
But to hold to such repetition for so long — six months to a year — requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.
For Ye, the epiphany was the word mesmerism. He has constantly mesmerized himself into certain habits—healthy habits—that allow him to live the life he wants and be the person that he wants.
One of those aspects (despite his own night owl ways) is getting up early now. To commit to that, he suggests the following. These screen caps are direct quotes.
Think you might be into it?
What even is mesmerism? Well, it’s not something I’ve ever intentionally done, but like Ye, can see how it happens for me.
According to Australian hypnotist, Giovanni Lordi, mesmerism is:
Mesmerism is the act of non-verbally using a trance-like state and shifting the energy field within a client. The term 'Mesmerism' is named after Franz Anton Mesmer, the pioneer of Mesmerism in the 1800's. It uses mainly non-verbal actions like gaze, fascination, passes (strokes) and other methods to instate trance and affect the body's energy field.
Anton Mesmer believed there was an invisible ethereal 'magnetic like' fluid that ran through people's bodies. He also believed that when this magnetic field became unbalanced was when people became sick or experienced psychological issues.
This phenomena he termed 'Animal Magnetism', and in modern day terms is also similar in ways to things like chakra balancing, reiki, kinisieology and energy healing. Like Mesmerism, these modalities all assume the presence of unseen energy within a person, and the need to balance this and manipulate it in different ways to achieve different effects.
This is all a little much for my tiny brain, honestly.
Psych Central writes:
Mesmer believed that good physical and psychological health came from properly aligned magnetic forces; bad health, then, resulted from forces essentially being out of whack. He noticed a treatment that seemed to work particularly well in correcting these misaligned forces.
For me personally, I would never say that I feel mesmerized. It’s just not the kind of person I am. But I would say that getting up early allows me to get into a head space that lets me focus on my own magical world of story in quiet and peace before the day begins. The darkness outside while my brain wakes up (after a very cold washcloth to the face) allows me to get into a creative zone that I’m often not capable of getting into as easily further along in the day.
THE BAD PARTS
Yes, there are definite difficulties of waking up earlier than you’re used to.
You actually have to wake up.
Your body’s rhythm gets thrown off a bit.
I get hungrier earlier in the day.
In the beginning when you’re getting used to it you might end up sleeping more overall as your body adjusts.
For it to work, you have to not check social media and emails on your phone. This (at least for me) is super distracting and gets me out of that creative mindset.
THE GOOD PARTS
You eventually feel like a bad ass. You woke up when vampires were still prowling. Look at you.
Getting to work on your own stuff, or your extra stuff, or actually exercising before you come up with excuses not to? It elevates your mental state.
When you elevate that state—or mesmerize yourself—you actually tend to be more positive and productive throughout the day.
You’re in the prefrontal cortex zone. This part of your brain is great for creativity and it’s also super great and powered on when you wake up. Pretty cool, right?
Links from last week
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