Confessions of an occasional night owl (plus basketball)

photo-85One of the funny things that comes from writing about great morning routines is that people assume you are a morning person. I am not. I do not get up at 5:30 to run. I do not get up at 6:00 to ponder my hopes and dreams. Frankly, I have trouble getting up at 6:30 so I can take a shower before my kids wake up. I’m not waking up much before 7 these days.

The reason is that I’m deep into novel revisions. And I love working on edits until 11 p.m. or later most nights. I’m not so good about cranking out drafts at 10 p.m. That’s nose-to-the-grindstone 8 a.m. work. But the intricate work of editing seems to flow best when the day is behind me so there’s nothing else I’m preparing for, when the house is quiet and I’m relaxed with a glass of wine. I suppose I could get up at 5:30 a.m. to edit and have my wine but I’m not sure it would feel the same.

The good news is that I work for myself, and my late night creativity doesn’t come too late. Working from 9-11 p.m. or 11:30 p.m. can work with getting up at 7. If I did my best work from midnight to 2 a.m., this would be more of a problem.

When do you do your best creative work? How often can you actually seize that time?

In other news: I didn’t spend much time novel editing tonight (Wednesday) because I went to a 76ers pre-season game against the Minnesota Timberwolves (see photo above). I got these tickets at my son’s nursery school auction and I was right on the floor. They were throwing the ball in right in front of me! It was quite an experience — even if the team was awful (they lost by 20 points) the seats were awesome.

Weird experience: Looking at the team rosters, and the birthdates, and realizing I was way older than all the players. I mean, yes, of course — basketball is a young man’s game, and I’m in my mid-30s. But still. I felt old.

I want to give a shout out to the USDA’s communications people. I’ve been working on a magazine feature on school meals. I needed to get a comment from the USDA, but with the shut down, I’d put it off. But yesterday, I got a note — out of the blue! — from a USDA communications person saying they’d read my Fast Company post on 6 quick lessons from the lunch line on pleasing picky customers, and asked if I’d like to interview the Under Secretary who heads school meals (and WIC, SNAP, etc.). Then they got him on the phone the next day. Very nice!

According to the Time magazine “America’s mood map” quiz making the rounds, I belong in New Mexico.

8 thoughts on “Confessions of an occasional night owl (plus basketball)

  1. I also have to drag myself out of bed at 6:30 am to shower before the kids are awake. I am never going to be up any earlier. A couple of days a week I have the flexibility in my work day to leave work early afternoon and grab some caffeine in a coffee shop. This is my best creative time.

  2. Haha – I do the same for sports watching. For some reason, it is very jarring to notice that most of the players are younger now. I mean, I was never planning on a professional football career, but I’m getting aged out!

    1. @Melissa- seriously! The oldest was born in 1981, and the youngest 1994. Whoa. It was odd to me that even the veteran on the team was younger than me. Not by much, but still younger!

  3. For the piece on the school lunch standards, I’d add “Make sure it actually tastes good.” My memory of vegetables on a cafeteria tray is that they were mushy, smelly and served with no salt or fat for flavor (not saying covered in nacho cheese, but a little butter goes a long way).

    1. Simply NOT overcooking (though that may be hard when you’ve got so many to cook for at different lunch periods?) would go a long way. And yes, salt & pepper or butter are essential! We serve our kids veggies the way we would eat them, properly cooked (not mushy) and mildly seasoned with spices. I wouldn’t eat a bland veggie, either.

    2. @Chelsea – definitely on the veggie front. But there are some districts doing amazing things. I’d eat there!

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