Despite all my best intentions, I am truly horrible at getting up early in the morning.
For a few months, I tried to be a 5 am person.
There were a few of us in a mentoring group and we decided we wanted to be early people who got more done before 8 am than most people get done in an entire day.
That still sounds appealing to me. (Except the getting up at 5 am part, obviously.)
I tried everything. For the first couple of days (literally two) I did get up at 5 am. Once I was up, I loved it.
Then... I didn't get up at 5 am.
Then I did, for a day. Then I didn't. And so on ad nauseum.
I tried setting my alarm 10 minutes earlier each day to ease myself into it. Didn't work.
I tried putting my alarm clock on the other side of the room so I had to get out of bed. Didn't work because I climbed right back in. (I know, I'm a dick.)
I tried setting myself a delightful reward for hauling my carcass out of bed at 5 am. Didn't work. Nothing was appealing enough.
I came to the conclusion that I wasn't a 5 am person and that was okay.
We can't all be kale-smoothie-slurping, meditating, early-morning maniacs.
But the problem was, I am a morning person. At least, that's when I do some of my best work (assuming I can flop out of bed of course).
I love being up early. I hate the process of getting out of my cosy nest with my cosy husband.
Instead, I decided to become a 6 am person. That's much more civilised.
Was I any better at getting up? Nope.
This went on for a couple of years: I'd fail to get up early, then I'd hate myself and beat myself up and feel anxious because I had too much to do and not enough day to do it in.
And I'd beat myself up for not being as good a person as these shiny business owners who get up at 5 am and look amazing and do all the things and have gorgeous hair and makeup.
And I'd hate myself and feel inadequate because I was a monster with bleary eyes and feathers for hair and a bad attitude and an inability to get up.
(Of course, I know now it's all bullshit and those shiny shiny people are either lying or embellishing because the reality is mostly they look like struggling humans too because that's what they are.)
Then I'd get up early for a couple of days in a row, feel good briefly, and instantly slip back into not getting up.
In the beginning of November, though, everything changed.
I've been getting up at 6 am on the dot every morning and I'm eating breakfast and reading a book by 7 am – all because I decided to do a tiny thing instead of a great big horrible impossible thing.
Instead of getting out of bed at 6 am, all I have to do is turn on the light and sit up.
I don't have to get out of my warm nest. I don't have to go downstairs and shower.
I don't have to do anything except sit up.
Then I spend 15 minutes reading a book while the shock wears off, which is a delightful way to start my day. Then I get up and get on with it.
James Clear's book Atomic Habits is the reason I've been up early every day for the past month and a half. One of his rules for building habits is "make it easy". Another is "make it attractive".
I did both, and it worked.
If you want to write your book, you need to build a good writing habit or you'll never manage it.
What are you struggling with? What feels horrible?
What if, instead of saying you'll write 500 words a morning, all you have to do is make a cup of tea, open your document, and scribble down what you're going to do next?
Make it easy and make it attractive.
You'll find the writing comes naturally after that, and before you know it, you have a habit.
Ready to do the hard thing and write your book? Start here, with the only guide you’ll need.
p.s. if you join us in the Moxie Book Kickstarter, starting on January 13, I'll help you clear space to write and build a healthy writing habit.
Think you haven't got time to write a book? You have.
Let me show you how. Join us here.
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If you want to learn more about how to write, self-publish, and market a book for your business, snaffle yourself a copy of How The Hell Do You Write A Book? Then check out the blog and podcast for more articles and guides. If you want a little (or a lot) more help, find out how you can work with me.
Vicky Fraser is the founder of Moxie Books and author of How The Hell Do You Write A Book and Business For Superheroes. She helps business owners write life-changing books, connect with readers and new customers, and grow their businesses. When she's not doing that, she's hanging from a trapeze by her feet.