Time-creating tip: the “Morning Light”

Sure – they’re cute when they’re awake. But writing and kids don’t mix.

I started writing a novel last year.  Of course, with two young kids and a day job writing nonfiction, I had no time.  If I was going to get up extra early to write, that precious ‘starlighting’ time in the morning had to be sacred, so I put my children’s sleeping hours on a timer.

It’s dark where I live.  In the winter months we go to bed when it’s dark and wake up in the dark.  For a young kid, there’s no distinct clue when it’s time to wake up.   Is it midnight?  Is it 7am?  Unless you’re old enough to read a clock, it’s impossible to tell.  Our house is also small: when one person’s up, the whole house is up.  There’s no “away.”

So my first step before writing the novel was a trip to the hardware store.  I bought an electric timer — one of those programmable timers people use to flip their living room lights on and off to make potential burglars think someone’s at home–and rigged it up to a small blue night light.  The easy-to-follow rule: when the the Morning Light is on, you can get up.   Not before.

I set it for 6:45am.  That gave me a blissful hour or hour and a half to get my writing done in peace.  No early risers.  No demands or distracting voices from children before quarter to seven.

The Morning Light works like a charm.  My kids have a clear signal.  I enjoy protected time to concentrate.  I finished the first draft of my novel in 10 months.

The Morning Light is my favorite “time-creating” tip for young parents and helps me set limits on the people I live with. Writers, parents, creative dreamers — what are your tricks and tips to protect your own time?   What boundaries do you set on your friends or family to carve out time you need?

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4 Responses to Time-creating tip: the “Morning Light”

  1. Brilliant – simply brilliant!

  2. What a good idea. You’re very resourceful, Heather. Luckily for my writing, I don’t have distractions like little children who need my attention. Plus, I can’t put a coherent thought together before 9 am, so I’d never try writing then anyway. 🙂 I can certainly write at 10 PM, however.

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Finding the right time of day is crucial. Glad you’ve found that night hours work for you!