14 Things Writers Do Before 8am

todays authorThis is inspired by Jennifer Cohen over at Forbes who wrote a wonderful article on “5 Things Super Successful People Do Before 8am” (few of which I did, though I can claim #5). She includes chores like exercise, eat a healthy breakfast, map out the day–all great ideas, but not pithy enough for the average writer I know.

Here’s my list, gathered from chatting with friends (and a few efriends) about their daily ToDo list:

  1. Solve the problems of the world
  2. Wash Superman (or woman) cape
  3. Figure out the equivalent of sticking twenty people in a phone booth–i.e., get kids ready and off to school with packed lunches and completed homework, arrange household repairs, get the dog sorted, talk significant other down from an emotional cliff, figure out how to make coffee by pouring hot water through yesterday’s grounds (forgot to buy coffee), and find your child’s lost iPad which must be brought to school every day now that class has a 1:1 initiative
  4. Consult with muse on the next Great American Novel
  5. Invent clever phrases like “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” (though Winston Churchill has already come up with that one. Bollocks)
  6. Invent clever humor like,“If b******* were oil, you’d be OPEC”.
  7. Invent clever similes, like “like a violin in a marching band”.
  8. Move everything that wasn’t accomplished yesterday to today’s To Do list, which is most everything because there were a few emergencies that blew up what should have been a highly-productive yesterday
  9. Reread the books about how anyone can write a best-seller.
  10. Find the overlap between ‘common’ and ‘sense’
  11. Figure out how many writers it takes to screw in a lightbulb
  12. Find life’s undo key
  13. Answer all Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus queries with friendly, pithy responses
  14. Take a nap

What do you do before 8am?


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. In her free time, she is editor of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

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20 thoughts on “14 Things Writers Do Before 8am

  1. coffee. lots and lots of coffee drinking.

  2. Laughing all the way through (and getting stares from innocent bystanders). Was that 8 am or 8pm? LOL.

  3. Mine aren’t as constructive by half as yours, Jacqui:
    Feed the cat, get the paper, shower (maybe later), make coffee, read the paper and check e-mails and blogs and read the paper and check e-mails and blogs, make more coffee if already done. Oops. It’s a.f.te.r. 8:00 a.m. already?

    • Oh–did I give you the impression I get these done? Me–they’re in the planning stage–and likely end up on tomorrow’s ToDo list also.

      I like your list, Tess. I’ve been trying to be less annoyingly focused. I would like to enjoy a cup of coffee rather than thinking how to multitask it.

  4. I was up at 2am this morning, Jacqui – I got cramps in my legs (forgot to drink enough water yesterday) and then couldn’t get back to sleep 😦 All I got done was to drink loads of coffee and look at a few blogs. But I guess that’s better than nothing! 😉

  5. You wash your cape every day?
    I’m humbled by your industry on that one.
    And you thought you couldn’t write humor…

  6. pure gold.. it looks like my list of things to do

  7. Haha, I love this, especially #3. And I am terrible for just adding yesterday’s ‘to do’ stuff onto today’s list!

    Two of my children have recently gone back to school after a very long summer holiday… I’m now amazed that I seem to have a little more time during the day–but this is compromised by the sheer madness that seems to ensue both before they leave for school and when the return! Hopefully we’ll find a rhythm soon enough 🙂

    • Mornings get into a rhythm where that doing the impossible becomes simpler. Or routine anyway. As for moving ToDo stuff –that’s actually on my daily ToDo list–“Move stuff I didn’t finish yesterday to today…”

  8. Up at 5am edit novel, have a cup of tea, run up hill and do fifty rounds on ab-circle pro…shower breakfast kids to school. Then when all is quiet and I have finished domestics its time to draw for picture book. I find writing is better in the morning and illustrating better in the day when no one is home. Some days I dont quite get there but my intentions are good.

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