Nathan - I loved this piece, and re-live some measure of that malaise daily; I'm twice divorced, grandfather of two, self-employed and live alone. My pooch died 4 years ago, and it's just me and the solitary-ness of mid-night, distant sounds of minimal traffic and a breeze through the window. I try to hydrate without eating - and even then, it seems I barely pee compared to your story. I wonder if this is 'writer-shit' we all encounter in some form. I don't do 3:30, I do 4:30. My Whoop on my wrist vibrates, but lately I bought a loud clanger alarm that MUST be shut off and I keep in the bathroom, and my writing table/writing desktop occupies half my walk-through closet (living alone means less stuff - and room for my virtual time/motion study to get myself from pillow to toilet, scale, check my blood pressure while booting up, max 15 minutes of worm-hole and overnight email checking) and then hit the keyboard. Also, in the last year, after living my entire life unaware, I was diagnosed with ADHD; I take my meds at 4:30 (they and a water glass sit next the clanger, which is next to the toilet, which is next to the scale, then back to the writing table to put the BP cuff on while I boot up my 'must check' items on the computer. The meds take effect in 90 minutes and last 14 hours - so that 4:30-6:00 writing time is vewwy vewwy different than 6:00-9:00.

Somewhere in that span I do a morning walk, earlier and darker the better - love the quiet and the warming up of my brain. I take a sticky note pad and pen with me because many great ideas flit around in my head that I'll lose if don't scribble a quick note. Like you I have the 'prep the night before' list as well. It included empty dishwasher, clothes dryer and put everything away. Also, I have my 'draft page for tomorrow' column' set up and ready to fill with wonderous prose. Sometimes the prompt awaiting me is a few words, or even a paragraph I've grabbed from my 'basket' which a word document with many fragments ...

When I get back from that walk, I hit the start button on the coffee maker, sit down and write; my prompt bit forms the nucleus of my column about 10-15% of the time, because most often something on one of those hastily scribbled notes from my walk is the 'gem du jour' (maybe it's my Emerarld?) .

The magic, setting aside all elements of these routines, is that - thanks to the miracle of a diagnosis and a wonder-drug called Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) I am able to sit, focused and without any urge to get up except for coffee refills, for hours ... but set a rule for myself of 'quit writing, shave/shower, dress, and be en-route to the office by 9:30 ... which I rarely overrun.

I've written this at some length - because, 'this is that what you wanted, is it not?'



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My puppy is making writing more complicated too. “See tail poking up above the edge of the coffee table. Peer over. He is licking an electrical socket. Choice: explain to him why this is wrong? Or shout at him to stop and then worry that your house is a puppy death trap?”

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I don't know how you get up at 3:30 am Garrett. I'm a zombie at that hour. Although, once in a while, I may get up and work on something between about 2 and 4. Then back to sleep. It's rare, though. Of course, I'm not juggling everything you are. Sounds like you're handling it well though, even if you don't reach your word count.

In my MS Word (2010), by the way, I can simply highlight the new paragraphs and the word count appears at the bottom. Knowing MS, they may have taken that feature out in later versions.

All the best. Sounds like you have a lot of energy!

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