Jo March had her red cap (before such things were tainted) and writing nook. Those of us who write also have our habits. Thing is, circumstances change.
For the first time in over a decade I’m moving house. Most specifically, I’m moving from an apartment into a house. I’ll keep my day job, but I’ll be telecommuting—whatever that is. Here in my apartment I awoke very early in order to accommodate public transportation. My writing time has been very early.
Weekends have taught me that sleeping in disrupts writing. Indeed, my freshest time is way before dawn. My mind is sharp and alert. I’m productive. I’m energetic. I’m also not as young as I used to be. One of my more self-indulgent activities is to allow myself to sleep until 5 a.m. on a Saturday.
I wake up groggy, uninspired. I sit down to write, weary already. Only with great effort can I shove the pen. I really don’t want to sleep any more, but I don’t want to write either. I must have a fever!
This makes me fear for my new lifestyle. The few people in my life say they’d like to see me keep more normal hours. Not go to bed until 9 or 10. Be better rested. Better adjusted. And what of my writing? What will become of it?
Houses with writing nooks are not easily affordable these days. My new house has a gnarly, unfinished attic. It could have enough privation to make a suitable writing space. Freezing in winter, stifling in summer. I can see myself up there amid the storage boxes, hunched over my desk, bleeding out my soul in words.
Writing is all about habits. Mine, it seems, are about to change. There’s no way I’m going to be buying a red cap. But maybe I can learn a bit from Jo after all.