Why I write in the morning, but only a little bit

“One study of young professors found that those who wrote a little bit every day were more likely to make tenure than those who wrote in bursts of intense energy (and put it off the rest of the time).”

“Research has found that people who score high on measures of self-discipline tend not to employ this discipline when they do regular activities that would seem to require it, such as homework or getting to class or work on time. For successful people, these are no longer choices but habits. ‘Getting things down to routines and habits takes willpower at first but in the long run conserves willpower,’ says Baumeister. ‘Once things become habitual, they operate as automatic processes, which consume less willpower.’ . . . Successful people turn high-value tasks into morning rituals, conserving their energy for later battles.”

— “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings–and Life,” Laura Vanderkam

Plus, I would add, it makes me feel happy all day when I get the writing done first thing. If I don’t I dread it, or worse, watch it get pushed down the list until it falls off.


  1. Brett says:


    I especially agree with the idea that writing just a little is more important than trying to type out a full draft in one marathon session.

    One conversation I often have with other people in the MFA program here at OSU is about the guilt we feel if we don’t write, or the sense that we’re not writing enough, or – as one of my friends put it – the sneaking suspicion that there’s another version of myself somewhere out there who is working harder, writing more.

    (I write this, in all honesty, while at a Panera, playing around on the internet in the breaks between drafting a story.)

    • erin flanagan says:

      I totally agree about the guilt I think it’s every writer’s constant companion. And I love the idea of another version of me out there being more productive. She’s probably prettier too, that bitch.

      Good to hear from you!

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