SOOOO not a morning person

So yesterday’s writing workshop was marvellous. I was relaxed about it. There was hardly anything to do, no room setup to speak of, except for rearranging the cushions, no bathrooms to clean, no vacuuming, no flower arranging, just the group, meeting together and having a wonderful experience.

It helped, I think, that it was in the afternoon. I think maybe that helps with how much it takes out of me. I can do a morning gig, but even for a 10:00 a.m. start, I need to be there by around 8:30, which means I need to leave by 7:45ish, and I have to be up about 6:30ish. That’s a strain because I’m SOOOO not a morning person.

I do *like* mornings, especially those times when I’m up really early, up first, and there’s a mist on the lake our whatever, you know, that sort of holy hush and magic that you get around dawn — I love that. But it’s not a “natural” time of day for me, it’s not what my body considers a decent hour to be up and about. It’s a decent hour to be curling up and burrowing deeper under the covers for another delicious 90-minute sleep cycle (or more), and slowly coming awake after that.

That’s why 9:00-5:00 jobs were always pure torture for me, let alone that time when I worked as a bookkeeper (I know, right, that alone is a hilarious thought) and had to be there and put together(ish) and at my desk by 8:30, “there” being a hour’s drive away. Or that crazy six weeks when I did a summer course (French) starting at 8:00 a.m. five days a week. There were days when I literally could not remember getting there (I drove), when I could easily have run all the red lights and stop signs, or run over a whole herd of goats in downtown Ottawa and not have had any recollection of it. Times when I’d be sitting in the classroom at 8:30 and realize I was still sleep-breathing.

So doing a morning workshop is a bit of a stretch for me even now — doable, but it does wear me out unreasonably. So fine, I plan for that — no plans for the next day!

Talker’s Block

In the interview that inspired me to start blogging every day, Seth Godin suggested that you can overcome writer’s block by just writing the way you talk. He said something along the lines of, he doesn’t know of anyone who gets talker’s block. It was a glib remark that I accepted at the time because, well, I was just nodding along with him.

But in fact: Ahem. Over here. I do. I get talker’s block. All. The. Time.

Especially when I’m with people who, um, let’s say, take up a fair share of airtime. When they finally stop for breath and turn to me and say, so, what do you think, or so, what’s going on with you, I find myself sort of bubbling, like a fish out of water, uuuuuuh, I don’t know. I’m okay, I guess. And often, in the time it takes me to collect my thoughts, they’re off and running again and I’ve decided they don’t really want to hear what I think about meditation or my weight loss journey or how my mindfulness practice is going or indeed how my trip to Iceland was last year.

See, I’m what you might call a sociable introvert. I can be sociable enough, but if you want me to talk to you, you have to draw me out. If I sense that you’re not interested, I clam up.

If there’s the slightest breath of conflict in the air, I seize up, I get tongue-tied, I don’t know what to say, I get embarrassed, I feel like I’m babbling. I don’t like having to defend myself or my point of view. I’m happy to share it with you, and I’m happy to have a lively exchange of ideas, but it has to be an exchange. If I sense that you want to challenge me by poking holes in my argument, I just fall apart. It quickly becomes a downward spiral, and I tell you, it’s not pretty.

So I propose that there is indeed at least one person who does get talker’s block. And I suspect I’m not alone.

How This Post Almost Didn’t Happen

So this is only day 2 of my daily blogging challenge, and I almost didn’t make it! Why? Good question.

I’ve watched myself all day doing everything but write this piece.

Oh, I did try to write something first thing in the morning. Yesterday was quick and inspired, written literally as I was eating breakfast. Today “first thing in the morning” was much later than it was yesterday. I didn’t get up out of bed right away, but instead had coffee delivered (thank you, Jack!) and read the paper in bed. By the time I got to breakfast, it wasn’t “first thing” anymore and the clarity I had at 7:30 a.m. yesterday just wasn’t there.

The other big difference is that yesterday, because I was pretty much on my way out the door when I wrote my post, I set a timer for 10 minutes. I use a timer for a certain kind of writing exercise, and I’ve become pretty much Pavlovian about the bell beginning and ending a session, so when it rang, I stopped writing.

I had a specific topic in my head before I sat down to write and then I just wrote for 10 minutes. Done.

Today, I had way too many choices. When I sat down to write, I didn’t have a clear focus in mind. I thought I did, but I didn’t. I forgot to set a timer, which I think would have focused me.

Oops, there goes the bell. Hitting “Publish.” Gotta go. See you tomorrow!

Accountability. Community.

It’s 7:00am when my alarm goes off, after far too few hours, as usual — and it’s Sunday. I peel myself out of a vivid dream and then I’m out of bed, at an hour most people over the age of 19 would consider civilized, but I don’t. I’d much rather roll over and go back into the dream, thank you.

2016-08-10-11-35-43So why am I up, having a full breakfast half an hour later, and pulling on my exercise gear (including my Xena the Warrior Princess sports bra — truly a marvel of engineering genius that probably uses 100 calories just to put on) for an 8:30 killer barre class halfway across town?

Accountability. Community.

Accountability: The barre studio has a super-clever way of getting you to show up to what is essentially a drop-in class: pre-registration, and a penalty for last-minute cancellations. So all I have to do to trick myself into going is pre-register. Then I have to go or forfeit the class.

Community: I’m going with someone who matters to me, whose opinion counts, who has two little kids and doesn’t get enough time to herself. And I’m driving. And to top it off, the instructor also knows I’m coming. They’d both be okay with it, of course, if I didn’t show, but disappointed. And so would I.

Accountability. Community.