Time

Recently I read about the biological clocks that rule us people.

Surprise. My schedule and my internal clock appear to be mostly in sync.

Often I’ve been asked about my daily writing schedule. So, here it is:

About 6 a.m. I stumble out of bed wondering who and where I am. Then I drink plenty of coffee, wander through emails and news articles until Zoë (she’s thirteen) awakes.

By 9 a.m. she’s usually at school or involved in some meaningful activity such as texting, playing Mine Craft, or watching Cake Boss. Which leaves me able to write for a while. This is the time (according to what I read) when we are most able to make connections between concepts and between other potential story elements that are not immediately apparent.

When hunger overthrows my creative ambitions, I think about some physical activity like gardening and, unless an excuse (too hot, too cold, too hungry, too formidable a task) dissuades me, I devote a few minutes to that activity.

Then comes lunch, which wears me out. I become good for nothing but reading, or for snoozing if the book is — like Jane Austen’s Emma, which I recently finished — a snoozer.

Sometime later, I rise and refuel with coffee. This may allow some minutes to finish writing whatever scene or sentence I was toiling over when hunger struck before grandma delivers Zoë from school. Or, on weekends, holidays, or during endless summer vacations, before Zoë gets so bored with her more compelling occupations she requests her dad’s company.

The remainder of the day, I might — again in accord with that clock— chip away at tasks that require only simpler-minded mental functions. Chores, learning a new computer skill, running errands, proofreading or helping Zoë with language arts or history homework. Science and math I avoid, as she’s way beyond my range. In lovely weather, I may walk briskly down the hill and back. Sometimes I think along the way, but not very deeply, as it’s the wrong time of day.

Next comes Zoë’s softball and cooking or buying and eating dinner.

Then I ought to wash dishes or hound Zoe to wash them, only by now my internal clock has mistaken me for a vegetable.

How I wrote anything before I gave up my 8-5 day job is a mystery.

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