Friday, September 30, 2011

The Earlybird Gets the Story

I love writing first drafts! I love that moment when a thought or phrase or word pops into my head, and I rush to scribble it down on one of the notebooks I keep in my pocket, my purse, or my desk. I love the anticipation, the exhilaration, the certainty that this one is surely a winner. My first drafts are spontaneous, joyful, enthusiastic, hopeful—everything I love about writing—and usually incomplete.

Once I get past that initial elation, every writing fear halts my forward motion. I am not going to elaborate on fears here, though. For heaven’s sake, they don’t need reinforcing! If I want to finish something—and I do!—I have to avoid my internal critic.

One life-saving method lets me sneak past the crushing criticism. I start my own writing first thing in the morning, in my pajamas, coffee close by, and I work before the critic wakes up and gets snarly. I am a morning person, but lucky for me, my critic sleeps in.

Here’s a morning person poem inspired by our older son and memories of my sisters and me when we were his age. It was published in Stories from Where We Live: The Great Lakes.

We Are the Early Risers

We are the early risers.
We are drawn to the water
like turtles in spring.
While the sleepyheads snuggle with pillows,
we are shucking off sneakers and socks
to tiptoe through sand dunes
and wade in the shallows
and watch dawn hatch from the waves.

Be sure to enter our Teaching Authors Book Giveaway featuring Guest Teaching Author Nikki Grimes and her new novel-in-poems, Planet Middle School.

Happy Poetry Friday! Today’s Roundup is at Read Write Believe.

JoAnn Early Macken


Carmela Martino said...

>I am a morning person, but lucky for me, my critic sleeps in.<<
Love this, JA!

Janet S. said...

Congratulations, I think you’re a Versatile Blogger.

I'd like you to know that I've learned a lot from reading your blog and I appreciate your writing.
Janet Squires @

Sara said...

From one morning person to another: yippee! I should post this by my computer, so I can know others are wading in early, too.

GatheringBooks said...

I am a night owl myself, but I do relish those quiet times in the morning (if and when I get to wake up in time to see the sun rise) - when everything else is still and filled with possibilities. :)

April Halprin Wayland said...

OMG, Carmela--I copied the same line!

Love your post and your poem, JoAnn, even though I am most definitely NOT a morning person ~ !

Andromeda Jazmon said...

I love this poem!! It brings back my summers in MI on Lake Huron, when I could rise before anyone and go out of the cabin to "watch dawn hatch from the waves". Thanks for sharing this!

Mary Lee said...

I am definitely an early riser, and I do my best work before anyone else is up (including my inner critic)!! Thanks for a great poem!

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Thanks, everyone! Sara, I like your notion of wading into work each morning.

Marti & April, you know what they say about great minds!

Myra from Gathering Books, yes to "still and filled with possibilities!"

Andi, my sisters & I grew up a block away from Lake Michigan. I have many fond memories of getting up early on summer mornings & heading to the beach.

Mary Lee, I'm glad to hear from another early riser--keep avoiding that critic!