Thursday Quotables: The Sense of Style

quotation-marks4I’m currently reading The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker, after reading So Many Books’ review.

It’s incredibly interesting, but also a very slow read. I’m slowly digesting a page or two at a time. Some parts are revelatory, and others — like this one — are just plain funny:

Like an actor with wooden delivery, a writer who relies on canned verbal formulas will break the spell. This is the kind of writer who gets the ball rolling in his search for th eholy grail, but finds that it’sneither a magic bullet nor a slam dunk, so he rolls with the punches and lets the chips fall where they may while seeing the glass as half-full, which iseasier said than done.

Avoid cliches like the plague — it’s a no-brainer.

Thursday Quotables is a weekly event hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies!



How To Get Up (Early) in the Morning

4610115463_9ba329b26d_zI know… there are thousands of blog posts promising to tell you how to get up at 5 in the morning to work out, to write that novel, or to have precious alone time before the kiddos tumble out of bed.

This is not that blog post.

I’ve read those posts. Probably all of them. I’ve set the alarm, set my intentions, visualized it, used an app. I’ve gone to bed extra early – and been treated with extra bad insomnia as a result.

And I’ve given up and admitted to myself that I am just not a morning person.

Yet this fact always remained: I can get up for work (because I have to). I can get up extra early for travel, or some special event. Physically, I can do this. Why, then, can’t I do it by choice? Why does my subconscious insist on making me sleep until the latest possible minute every morning?

I found my answer by accident. I was reading Laura Vanderkam’s post The secret to bounding out of bed in the morning is… She talks about going to bed early enough, but also about finding something that makes you get out of bed like it’s Christmas morning.

At first, I focused on the go-to-bed-early part. You can see me whining around in the comments about early work start times and insomnia. She responds with Can You Try Twice Per Week. And I think, sure I can; while I’m at it, maybe I need to approach it in shorter time chunks, too, like I’m training for it.

I tried it with walking or running on the treadmill; I tried it with novel writing. One morning I was staring at the screen, sleepy, and decided to write a blog post instead.

The next morning, I bounded out of bed like it was Christmas morning.

The problem all along: I didn’t know what it was that really gets me out of bed. I don’t place a lot of value on blogging: my brain says that it’s not a life goal, like novel writing or training for a half marathon. Apparently, my heart says something different.

I have been waiting to write this post, to see if it’s real – if it’s going to last.  I’ve been getting up 30 minutes early to blog most mornings for two months now. The creative exercise feels good: On days where I do an early morning blog, I feel strengthened and energized for the day ahead. It’s not every morning – but it’s more than twice per week.

So I’ve learned something about myself, and what I really want to do in the mornings. If you’re trying and failing to get up early, like me, try being open to new things in that time slot. Don’t just restrict your activity to the things you ‘should’ do.

Readers, what makes you bounce out of bed in the morning?