Ten Drug Free Tricks to Curing MFE (Morning Folks Envy)

I hate morning people.  Truly.  Nothing makes me more jealous than seeing an over zealous runner or a blissfully happy couple while I’m trudging into work, extra-large coffee in hand.  I want so badly to join in, to be productive and optimistic prior to eight o’clock.

Writing is more difficult the later it gets.  Although I hit my creative zenith when the sun goes down, I rarely have more than an hour of uninterrupted time.  Which is why I covet those morning lovers all the more.  No one calls before seven o’clock.  Roommates do not stir early and if they do, it’s to make coffee and breakfast.  There’s no need to browse fascinating blogs because in the pre-dawn hours, you’re focused and optimistic, optimistic about life and your art.  At midnight, I often find myself wondering whether I’ll ever be any good and counting the hours until my alarm will go off.

Plus, the later it gets, the more tired I get.  Last night I got in at 10:30pm, chatted with my roommates, and headed off to the bedroom to get in a little writing time.  I opened my laptop with gusto, feeling confident and creative. 

But within a hour, I was yawning and fighting heavy eyelids.  And in retrospect, I didn’t accomplish much. 

Here are ten ways to re-energize yourself after hours:

  1. Coffee.  It may be a dangerous option so close to the early morning hours, but it does the trick.  I’m convinced that the caffeine effect is mostly psychological.
  2. Get off the bed.  It’s common sense, but I keep finding myself writing in bed night after night.  Reject the welcoming sheets and comfy pillows.  Instead, opt for a desk and upright chair (you can cheat with a cushion).
  3. Exercise.  Nothing time-consuming or difficult.  Drop and do ten push-ups.  A quick blood-rush often leads to an extended creative-rush.
  4. Turn off the fan.  In the summer months, either turn off the fan or direct it elsewhere.  Air blowing in your eyes will only lead to dozing.
  5. Turn on the AC.  Warmth and comfort can wait.  Just think of all the productive 19th Century authors who weathered frigid London with nothing but shawls and small fires.
  6. U2.  Or any other type of music you find stimulating.  I often opt for my gym playlist: U2‘s “Get on Your Boots,” NEEDTOBREATHE‘s “We Could Run Away,” Wilco‘s “Spiders (Kidsmoke),” etc.  Create your own.
  7. Inspiration.  What inspires you more than anything?  Is it reading the prose of a favorite author?  Is it returning to the biography of Desmond Tutu?  Is it jotting down all the goals you plan on achieving?  Sometimes all you need is a pep-talk. 
  8. Waste electricity.  I don’t usually promote such excess, but such times call for moments of indulgence.  Turn on all the lights in the room.  Dim, romantic lighting only evokes sleepiness.
  9. Snack.  Forget the rule of no eating before bed.  It’s nearing midnight, and you’re no where near your word limit.  Go for something crunchy: dry cereal, carrots, chips and salsa.  It’s a good thing you’re not writing in bed anymore.
  10. Another cup of coffee.  May I suggest Island Coconut?

All ten fall under the category of common sense, but it seems we need to hear them often and employ them even more often.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?  How do you stay awake when sleep threatens your creative space?