Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Being a good kid

A friend of mine who quit smoking after over ten years of being a smoker told me that what annoyed hir the most was that, shortly after zi quit, and zi was dithering in addiction-influenced uncertainty about whether or not to go back to it, zi noticed that zi actually felt better: more lung capacity, less lethargy in the latter part of the day, etc.  It irritated hir to admit that zi was actually happier and healthier not smoking, because of course that meant zi had to stick to it.

I know the feeling.  For the second day in a row, I got up earlier than I wanted to, and made myself sit down at the computer with a fresh pot of coffee and write.  No shower, no changing out of my pajamas, lest I feel ready to present myself publicly and hit the streets/walk away from my work.  No dithering for half an hour thinking, "What would I like to eat for breakfast?" before throwing on some clothes (see above) and going shopping/out for breakfast.  And – this is key – no turning on my internet for at least an hour.

Result?  The manuscript chapter I'm working on at present has more than doubled in size over the last two mornings.  I'm pretty happy about it, except for the inescapable conclusion that I am more productive when I wake up early than when I sleep in.  Which kinda sucks.  'Cause I love sleeping in.  But I guess that's not what research postdocs are for, are they?

I'll sleep when I'm tenured.


  1. Congrats! *happy manuscript dance*

  2. See? I told you Victor Hugo was right!

    But I thought you were supposed to be in Research City doing interviews and transcribing things and all that whatnot, right?

  3. Good post! I work best like this--keeping as little as possible between me and computer (but not internet). I preset coffee-maker to 5:45am and sit down at the computer in my pjs.

  4. @Sis: What, I can't compartmentalize my time a little? Don't worry, I'm doing researchy stuff too!

    @Mom: Your technological sophistication exceeds mine. I have to stagger to the kitchen, turn on the water boiler, and pour the right amount of grounds into the French press. My brain regresses evolutionarily to lizard level early in the morning; if I hadn't done this routine constantly while writing my dissertation last year, there's no way I could do it now. I start my day on almost pure muscle memory.

    *dances with Ink*

  5. Oh, you ARE a good kid! I do this with my reading or with papers (I'll actually go to sleep with a stack of papers next to me on the bureau, and then sit around in bed grading for a couple of hours on a lap desk, unshowered and sometimes even uncaffeinated) but I usually can't do it with my own writing.

    When I'm on leave this spring, though, I'm thinking about ways to do a version of this. I'm not a morning person, but surely I could still sit down at my computer by noon or one everyday? Maybe even after going to the gym??

    You're an inspiration.

  6. Ugh, Flavia, you're making me ill with your stories of early-morning, pre-caffeination grading!