It’s now British Summer Time, and outside it’s peeing it down with rain.
I always think this is a harsh time of year for writers. We never have enough hours in the day to write as it is, and then we have to cut one from our schedule. So how do you lose yours?
For many years I would wait until I woke up on Sunday morning and then go round the house changing the clocks that hadn’t automatically updated themselves. But I didn’t like this. It felt that the hour had literally been snatched from me. I would wake up, with a whole new day ahead of me, with a long list of things to do, and then suddenly, five minutes later, when all the clocks were updated, I’d be half way through the morning, and the rest of the day was running out with less time to do all of those things.
So then I started putting the clocks forward just before I went to bed. (That can be an interesting exercise when you can’t remember which clocks automatically adjust themselves and then you wake up on Sunday morning to find you’ve lost two hours, not one!) But I still felt as though I was losing an hour’s sleep, because instead of settling down at 11.30pm I was now settling down at 12.30am. So I either lost an hour’s sleep if I were to wake at my usual time the following morning, or if I slept for my usual length of time, my Sunday was still going to be an hour shorter.
I’ve found my solution. I now change my clocks mid afternoon on the Saturday. By doing this, I’ve found that I’ve already achieved something in the day by this time, so the pressure to achieve other things is not as great. (I still have things to do, but with the important things of the day tackled first, it means they’re already done.) And I still have the rest of the afternoon and evening to adjust to the time change, so by the time I go to bed I’m pretty geared up to British Summer Time.
For me, I’ve discovered that losing my hour between 2.30pm and 3.30pm on a Saturday afternoon is a lot easier to manage.
So what’s this got to do with writing? What we achieve in our writing often comes down to how we manage our time. I’ve heard some writers say they hate the change to British Summer Time because they lose an hour from their Sunday morning, and mornings are their time for writing. I know of one writer who is a late owl, and writes from 10pm until 2am, normally four hours, but on this night it’s only three.
If something doesn’t work for you, then change it. Just because the clocks officially go forward at 1am, doesn’t mean that you have to do it at that time. (Heck I’m too busy sleeping then!) Experiment.
It’s up to us how we manage our time. It’s easy to lose an hour on Facebook, or browsing the Internet, or channel-hopping on the telly, and we often think nothing of that. When British Summer Time comes calling, we get quite worked up about losing an hour. But it doesn’t have to be that way.