Do you need that caffeine jolt first thing every day? Do you have a morning ritual? Well, it’s no secret that I am a coffee fiend, so first thing every morning I have to have my java. You might also say I have a regular morning ritual where coffee plays a huge part.
I’m an early riser – usually up by 4:00 a.m. without any alarm clock. First thing I make the coffee. I set it brewing and then meditate for about a half hour with the smell of fresh brewed coffee wafting all around me. If the weather is nice, like it is lately, I do my morning meditation outside in the garden. After starting the day with some head clearing, I pour myself a nice hot cup o’Joe.
It’s nice and quiet, the coffee’s hot, and as I feel it coursing through my veins, I sit down with my trusty notebook and I write. Sometimes it’s snippets of lyrics, sometimes just song hooks, and sometimes it’s a story that I might eventually reduce down to a song. The thing is, I’ve made it a habit to sit down and write every day. It’s kind of a variation on the “morning pages” idea in the Artist’s Way – which is a great book for creative people – lots of ideas about how to stimulate your creative juices and capture your creativity in a tangible way. I’ve roughly fallen into a schedule something like this: For the first few days of the week (say, Monday through Wednesday), I actually write – put pen to paper. Thursday and Friday I review what I’ve written, do edits, and work with my guitar to try and fit what I’ve written into a song. This way, by Friday, I have at least one song – sometimes more – in the works. I record a rough cut of each one, and come back to them from time to time, editing, refining, and re-working lyrics and music until I have what I think is a passably finished product.
If you want to be a writer, you have to write. If you’re serious about your writing, then you have to approach it like it’s your job – which it is! Writing is a skill, and to be successful, you have to exercise those writing skills every day. That way, when inspiration strikes, you’ll have the tools to get it down. I’ve found that by writing every day, it’s so much easier to capture the ideas that bounce around in my mind like pinballs. If you’re going to sit around and wait for the inspiration to hit before you sit down to write, then when that inspiration finally does hit, you won’t know what to do with it.
When we were in Key West, we visited the Ernest Hemingway house. While there, we learned that Papa Hemingway wrote for hours every day. He even had a special catwalk built from his second floor bedroom to his writing office so he could get into that office every day, bypassing the distractions in the rest of the house. That’s because Hemingway approached writing like a job – he literally made his living from his writing.
There are hundreds – if not thousands – of books about how to “be a writer.” But the only way to “be a writer,” is to write!
So, for me, that hour or two ritual in the morning has become my “writing” time. It’s second nature, now.