The past two weeks have been ground-breaking! During that period of time I have written over 35,000 words for my book Panama (or whatever I end up calling it), doubling my total after it sat languishing for all last year. What prompted this meteoric rise to action? Well, it began with something as simple as waking up early. I had downloaded the book Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy via Overdrive as I was browsing available nonfiction ebooks from my library.
By the way, if you do not know what Overdrive is and you read ebooks or listen to audiobooks, you are missing out! It is a free service that allows you to download these books through your local library.
In his book, Brian Tracy recommended taking your highest priority task and working on it first thing each morning. He says that by knocking it out right away, or at least some of it, you gain a momentum and added ability that can push you through the fears and doubts that hold you back. And incredibly, it worked! Two weeks ago I was attending a week-long military training course that began at 7:30 AM. I took me about 50 minutes just to drive there, so I needed to leave by 6:30 to get there each morning with a little time to spare.
I decided to try out Tracy's advice and began waking up at 4:30 each morning and spending at least one hour and fifteen minutes writing my book before I left to go to my class. The first few days I wrote between 500 and 1500 words. What did not happen was that I sat down and felt the words flow from me like music from Stevie Wonder. At least, not at first. On Friday, after waking up at that horrific time of day each morning and sticking with it all week, our class ended early. By noon I was heading home, nothing specific planned, just enjoying the prospect of some unstructured free time. Then I realized that I could actually use that time to do something meaningful like work on my book.
So I went to the library instead, parked in a study cubicle such as I had not seen since my days in college, and began to type on my laptop. Four hours later a librarian was announcing that the library was closing, and I realized that I had been writing the entire time. I went back on Saturday and wrote 5,000 words worth of quality material, far more than I had ever written at one sitting.
Last week I went to the library whenever time permitted, one day writing as much as 7,000 words. I feel like a surfer who, after paddling around all day, suddenly finds himself on top of the big one, holding his breath and trying to ride the wave for as long as it will take him. After years of idly wishing that I could write, I feel like I woke up one morning (very early) and discovered that I can. I plan on finishing the first draft of my book this upcoming weekend. And if I had to point to one factor that got me moving after years of inactivity, as trite as it may seem, I would have to say that it was 4:30 AM that did it for me. Not that there is anything magical about the time, or even necessarily about early morning; rather, it was the commitment to make this an absolute priority in my life, and being willing to sacrifice in order to achieve it.
So, if you're like most people and there is some inner wish that has churned uncomfortably within you for years, maybe you should just try waking up earlier. It worked for me!