One morning, not too long ago, I had a dream that I published a book. An actual book! I held it up high in my hands, marveled at its cover, thumbed through the pages; stopping here and there to glance at some of the words on several pages. Unfortunately, you can’t read in your dreams (has to do with dreaming being a right-brain activity while reading is left-brain. Or is it vice versa?) so I don’t know what the words said.
But there I was, in a dim room. The sun shone bright over my shoulder, illuminating only the book’s white cover. The swirly designs that slid across the front and back, failed to convey what the genre of book it was. Again, reading the title was hopeless. Unlike a typical novel it wasn’t thick; instead it was thinner like a novella. The weirdest thing about this book was that it was wide like a textbook, but something told me it was fiction.
And just when the book was going to reveal its contents and subject matter to me, I assumed through osmosis because I couldn’t read it, I woke up to the real world where I have yet to finish writing much less publish a book.
As I laid in bed, disappointment covered me like my blanket. Both the emotion myself became companions just long enough before the nine-minute drowse alarm went off. It was time to get up and go out into the real world, even though I hate mornings and work. But do you want to know something? If you want to live in the real world, it demands action.
Dreams are a wonderful thing, especially the nice ones; this one sure was. Waking up to the reality of not having published a book was the nightmare. I knew this mindset needed to be changed. Dreams are more than just wonderful things. Dreams are goals that we should set for ourselves. We must work hard to accomplish them. They require great effort. That’s what I think that dream was saying to me.
Every morning I get up at 5:30am and start writing. Some experts recommend getting up at 5am, because this time seems to be the sweet spot at aiding people to get more done in a day. Although I’m not ready for 5am just yet, making the switch to 5:30am has helped me immensely. Since I’m not a morning person and never will be, I had to tweak this for my comfort. I use both my phone’s alarm and my Amazon Echo alarm feature to wake me up. My phone wakes me up from sleep and the Echo gets me out of bed and moving. The Echo is in my office/guest bedroom and not my bedroom, so I have to physically get out of bed, walk into the office, which is several feet away and speak out load to the Echo in order to stop the alarm. I picked a great alarm for my purposes. It’s rapper Missy Elliot shouting, “Wake up! It’s time to start the day! You know the first thing to becoming a superstar is rolling out of bed.”
Missy’s playful bit of quick inspiration works for me. No truer words have been spoken. I can’t get anything done if I don’t get out of bed. Usually the next thing I do is go to the bathroom and relieve myself. You can image how much liquid your bladder holds while you sleep. Next, I go to the kitchen and grab a pint glass full of water, replacing the liquids that I lost. Some experts say you should drink 20 oz. of water when you wake up. I can only do 12 oz. If I do two pint glasses which comes out to 24 oz. of water, I immediately have to urinate the second I get to work from my commute to my day job (sorry, TMI). Once I’m hydrated, I sit in my high-back chair in my home office and fire up the old laptop at my computer desk and commence to writing.
Sometimes, when it’s a real struggle to get out of bed, I will finish hydrating, then grab my laptop and get back in bed. Yes, you heard that right. I’ll get back in bed, but I will sit upright and work on my projects there. I invested in one of those cool and comfy laptop tables. They are flat, usually made of wood, and they rest on your lap so your laptop lays flat and even, as if on a real desk. The heat of your laptop doesn’t burn your legs, because on the underside of the laptop desk are cushions that stay cool as the laptop heats up during use. I can’t recommend these things more. They’re great for when you’re sitting on the couch too.
Currently, I’ve just completed and submitted a science fiction novella. The manuscript required hard work on my part, but not without the support of my writing group who critiqued it and my wife who critiqued and corrected it. She even suggested I punch up the introduction and fill a plot hole I didn’t see. Clocking in at over 33,300 words, it’s the most I have ever finished and submitted. Using my morning method process enabled me to stay focused, motivated and finish. As long as I keep working the process, the process will work. Once it was finally finished, I sent my tale off to Tor Books for their approval. Now comes the wait. It might take at least two months for the publishers to get back to me. God, I hope my submission is one of the lucky ones to be chosen for publication.
Dreams are great and all, just remember to change them into goals. Then take that goal and put in the hard work and process needed in order to achieve it. There is no other way to do it. There is no easy way. The road is long and hard, and you have to stay on it. I’m on that road right now. Do you care to join me on it? I know there is a fruitful destination at the end.