“Ouch!” I yelped as I caught the corner of the bookcase between my big toe and second toe. I hadn’t turned any lights on because at this hour, I’m the only one awake and that is exactly how I want it. The throbbing in my foot accompanied me the rest of the way to the kitchen, where I poured a cup of coffee for myself. Thank God for coffee makers with auto-brew buttons — and a husband that knows the coffee needs to be ready when my alarm beeps. I carried my coffee back to my room with me, going slower and more carefully to protect my feet. The pain in my foot hadn’t gotten any better, and I worried a little that I would be enduring the company of such throbbing pain all day.
The bright red numbers on my clock announced that it was already 4:17 AM — I am down to 1 hour and 43 minutes of writing time. I sit in front of my computer, hoping for some progress this morning — my book has been shaping up nicely, but lately I’ve been struggling on the edits for chapter 3. I have 17 rough chapters, I am shooting for 20, and I am editing the beginning chapters as I finish writing the final chapters. Oh, look, the light on my phone is blinking! Who is it? One of my writing friends is also up this morning, so I told her “Good morning,” then stared at my computer screen.
I’ll check my email real quick, just to see if I have anything important to look at. After spending a few minutes in my email box, I go check on my blog, maybe I’ll write a new post this morning. I check my blog stats, and decide I don’t have anything to write about this morning. Time for another cup of coffee; so I get up and go get more. Thankfully I don’t stub my toe again. Back in my room, the blaring red clock alerts me that it is now 4:46 AM and I only have 1 hour and 14 minutes to continue writing. I open the file for chapter 3 and read the first paragraph.
That’s crap; I can’t go with that, so I start deleting my work. The light on my phone is blinking again, so I message my friend who asked how I was, I let her know I’m good, just working on chapter 3, “Deleting the whole thing,” I tell her. This starts a long conversation about why I don’t like chapter 3, what’s wrong with it, and while she disagrees, she understands it’s my work and if I don’t like it, I must change. She is, after all, a writer too. I’ve thought she should keep stuff that she deleted too. Nice to have someone that understands.
My coffee cup is empty again. I trudge back to the kitchen for more coffee. Waking up at 4 in the morning no longer feels like such a good idea. I’m tired and it’s not even time to leave for work yet. When I reach my room again, my bright red clock is like a siren in the night, 5:15 AM and I only have 45 minutes left. Frustrated with chapter 3 and how much I cannot stand how immature my writing was when I started this book – I resort to working on chapter 17. I write one sentence. I delete it. I write one more. I delete it. I try again. The sentence is half typed when I notice the light on my phone is blinking again. I complain some more about how I just do not like anything I come up with, and I get up to go to the bathroom. After my bathroom break, I realize I need more coffee.
With a full cup of coffee, I return to my room, only to see the dreaded 6:00 AM on my clock. Seriously?! But I didn’t get anything done this morning, and it’s time for work. Complaining about it the entire time, I take a shower, feed the dog, the horses, wake up my daughter, and get her ready for daycare and head out the door. I keep telling myself that I might be able to work on my book during my lunch break. Little did I know that I’d have to work through lunch to get everything done that day. About thirty minutes before leaving work that day, I get a text from a friend that has puppies, asking if I want to bring my daughter with me to come see them.
No, I do not need to think about this. I love puppies. So off we go, to see the puppies. This is love at first sight — they are the cutest little puppies I have ever seen. To not spend too much time talking about the three weeks I spent waiting for my puppies, I brought two of them home when they were 5 weeks old. Yes, that is young, and I would have waited but their mom tried to kill them, so it was kind of an emergency to get the puppies away from her. I love having puppies. My daughter and husband love having puppies. We all love having the new puppies!
4 AM rolls around, and I feel a bit groggier than usual — last night was the puppies first night home, and they woke up and cried every hour. I drag myself to my computer, and battle my way through the writing of several pages. I actually feel like I made progress this morning before work, and off I go. But the puppies keep waking up every hour for that first week, and I stop waking up at 4 in the morning to write. I start sleeping until it’s time to get ready for work. I don’t mean to, I can’t help myself – I’m exhausted. It’s just one week, anyway. Yet, during the second, third, fourth, and yes even the fifth weeks, they are waking up every two hours to go outside. Finally in a moment of despair, I built a cozy place in the barn and put the puppies out there to sleep.
I slept all night, it felt fabulous, and I’m going to write now that I’m awake! I roll over and am met by the ugly display of 6:00 AM on my alarm clock. Apparently I needed to catch up on my lost sleep. I have now only been getting the opportunity to spend time with my book on the weekends, the occasional lunch break, and sometimes I get an hour in the evening after dinner. I’m not making near as much progress, and I’ve realized that the first 5 chapters of my book need to be completely reorganized. This would not be a big deal, but I’ve been working on this project for just over a year.
This is the trouble with dreaming big, life just isn’t designed to get out of the way and let big dreams come by easily. Life is happening, you can’t avoid it, and while some things that get in our way are our own fault, sometimes they are things we can’t change or stop. So, I rearrange my schedule to fit my dreams in with life. This was working great until I found out the severe pain that kept me home from work was an ulcer and I could no longer have coffee.
“But, I’m a writer, and I get up at 4 AM to write, Doctor. Please tell me there is something you can do, I need coffee. I’m not just a casual coffee drinker, I will never get this book done without my morning coffee.”
My doctor was less than sympathetic and reiterated the fact that I can have no coffee for several weeks — like 6-8 weeks. Great, I’ll never finish this book. After suffering through three days of a mind-crushing headache, I am able to start adjusting to this life without coffee. One slow, late morning at a time, I work on my book if I get up in time, if I don’t; I get ready for and go to work. I know if it weren’t an ulcer getting in the way of my coffee drinking, it would be something else. The puppies are still waking up 3 times a night to go out. So this is just how it will be while I write this book. And if that wasn’t enough, I decided to start getting my daughter ready for her first horse show. We have a couple of months; do you think I’ll have a chance to work on the book anymore? I’m beginning to wonder.