Why, bonsoir, my little blogpals! I’ve been a bit remiss about posting lately, but that’s mostly because I’ve been attending to my defaults and mildly obsessing about this man.* He’s Oliver Burkeman and he writes the ‘This column will change your life’ column in The Guardian on Saturdays. To be fair, it hasn’t actually – and I’ve been reading the columns for a long number of years now – but his common sensical and sound reports on ways to feel better about just about everything are a joy to read.
Something he writes about is changing your defaults. The idea is, broadly, that you decide you’re a person who does x – just a small thing, like having a 10.30 bedtime or clearing away paperwork when you’re finished with it. And then, well, you get on with doing that thing. Eventually, the small amount of effort paid to whatever your little thing might be forms a habit which becomes, eventually, your default setting. Neat, huh?
This week, therefore, I decided I’m now a person who
(a) does the dishes every single day, whether they need it or not (ba-boom!);
(b) doesn’t take any electronica – tablet, laptop, whatever – to bed. These are immensely disruptive to my sleep and, what with my face slowly melting, I need as little disruption in that regard as possible and
(c) gets up at 7am every morning. (This means I’ve basically reverted to the working timetable I’ve had for my entire adult life. Not exactly the kind of default setting I had in mind).
But, there’s a twist! I’m getting up at 7am and I’m writing! Another of Mr Burkeman’s sage pieces describes the habits of creative people. Beethoven apparently got up early, drank coffee religiously (ie dressed as a nun), went for a walk in the afternoon and then met his pals for a drink. It’s undeniable – Mr Beethoven is copying me.
It’s my attempt to tap into his creativity by getting up early and settling down to write. Ok, it may mean I’m a yawning, hatchet-faced crab for the first few hours of the day, but anyone who knows me, outside in the real world, will be familiar with the many and varied blockbusters I’ve almost actually started over the years. Now that my default setting is that of ‘early morning writer’, I may even put words on a page. Just as soon as I finish this coffee.
*I’m a fairly mild-mannered stalker and won’t be putting on a nappy to drive cross-country to his house. All that often.