I’m big on habits and optimizing my life, mainly because I’m always stretched for hours between multiple projects and my never-ending creative needs, and I’m always looking out for new tools and thoughts on how to streamline my life.
Lately, I’ve come upon a new habit that has made my life a lot more enjoyable and easier; I can’t believe how much it baffles my friends when I tell them what it’s all about. Now, I can’t generalize and say this applies to everyone. Actually, it definitely doesn’t. I can’t say that it applies to you, dear reader, but since it is my blog, I can try to give as much bad advise as I feel like.
What I’ve come upon is something simple, it’s something I wish I’d began a decade ago and not a year ago, and it’s something poisonous to the nerd and geek communities: it’s waking up at 5.30 in the morning.
Knowledge workers generally tend to wake up flexibly, pointing out that their creative juices can only perform at specific times, saying that their best work only comes late at night, and that there’s no way they can even think straight in the morning. And while I don’t doubt that people have specific golden times during their day specifically set aside for the part of their brain that does writing, coding, or art, I also think that with certain mindfulness we can control or adjust it. Even if there really is only one magic hour late at night during which people are most creative, all that special time goes to waste if you’re too tired to do anything with it.
The whole point of waking up at 5.30 is not just to shift your day couple of hours earlier and do things like you would normally, but to change things around so that you can enjoy your spare time with your energy full, instead of tired and wasted.
For example, in my case, I’ve always lived the routine of waking up as late as possible, eating as quick a breakfast as possible, rushing to work, working for nine hours (+travel), have dinner, and finally sit down to relax. Tired from over ten hours of intense concentration and a meal digesting, I sure as hell never felt creative in the evening. Maybe after a few hours of resting there’s a spark of a thought in my head again, and I rise to the occasion to write or draw, only to find that it’s time to go to bed or risk sleep deprivation. A vicious cycle of feeling like crap for never finishing any creative projects, coupled with desperate lack of sleep made serious personal work only possible during the weekend.
For years I struggled with writing RFR and Daughters one hour a night, every night restarting with a buzzed out head, fighting with any decisions that required more than 1+1 calculations. Coffee and tea helped – a little – but all that lost time during the evening procrastination was ugly and painful.
Last year we switched things around and started waking up at 6.30 am (we go to the office at 9.30-10.00 am), and gained three hours of time for a nice solid breakfast, personal creative works and exercise, before spending the brain juice on professional game making. We still scheduled an hour of PC time between dinner and pre-sleep reading, but that was nothing but a gateway to procrastinating again.
Now, since we’ve managed to move the clock even further down, making the waking up happen at 5.30, gaining us a solid four and half hours of uninterrupted and well rested personal time, during which we can freely concentrate on daunting creative tasks like coming up with new universes and writing that requires concentration. This means that after work I really only have time for groceries, food, and an hour or so of reading, before succumbing to sleep at 10 pm.
I want to reiterate that I have not just magically gained more hours every day, just shifted the ones that got wasted in the evening to morning when I’m still rested.
At first, I was worried how this would affect my professional work, but it didn’t. I don’t feel any more or less tired form when I did before by the end of the day, and I think my mood has only improved – hence generating only better work. My body really only shuts down after dinner, which is why I pretty much just stay in bed with a book after food, willingly surrendering to my bodies will to sleep.
I am curious to see how far this can be adjusted, and I hope to try 4.30 am at some point, because as I mentioned, I’m a big fan of life hacking and finding the best patterns for my creativity. I’m worried about going to sleep at 9 pm though.
I realize this really doesn’t work for anyone with a social life or a partner with a different schedule, but if you’re a creative hermit like me, working together day and night with your best friend and lover, then I strongly urge you to give a good look at what you’re really spending all those hours on, and are there any steps you can actively take to make your every day happier.
What’s the harm in trying?
Halou! Most of the time with this blog we’re trying to make you buy something or just show off our cool books. Occasionally we do things like general updates about how the comic and everything else is going, but it’s been a while and we wanted to rectify that.
Since we have a few projects under our belt now, we’ll just give a quick overview on all of them, mainly focusing on where they are now and our future plans with them! So, let’s start with…
Run Freak Run will end soon. We haven’t kept it a secret, and if you’ve been reading you should be able to feel it too. But there’s still about three months worth of updates coming where we hope to surprise, inspire, and delight you many times still. :)
Within these three months we also hope to make Run Freak Run available as a printed graphic novel – we sure as hell want to hold it in our hands! It won’t be through a Kickstarter-campaign, it’d just take too much time from our other projects – but we are looking at a print-on-demand service that we’ve had some good experiences with. We’ll include the short-but-sweet secret story that’s in the ebook (chapters 1-5), and some of our favorite blog posts from the past years. If you want to make sure you won’t miss it, please sign to our newsletter, or like our facebook-page, because we’re sure to spam you about it then!
And also, me, Kaija, Two, and Priscilla would love to congratulate the US for the same-sex marriage ruling. It’s an inspiration for the whole world. #lovewins
Next up… GIFS!
As I’ve mentioned before, we are horrible at planning novels. The first part of Daughters of the Witch Queen was ten thousand words, the second part was seventeen thousand words, and the third part is looking like… twenty-five thousand (ish) words. All of these book parts were supposed to be ten thousand words, because we had this great plan of releasing fast and often, creating momentum that way. But hey, you readers said you wished for a longer read, and we listened.
You also said you wished they included illustrations. Well, that’s another reason why DotWQ part 3 is taking us longer than the previous ones. We’re adding illustrations to each book part, and also combining parts 1-3 as one short novel (about 200 pages long). If you’ve purchased or got the books before, don’t worry, you’ll just have to update your file after the release, and your Kindle-app will download the newest version with images.
Before you go lower and start looking at some previews of what the illustrations will look like inside the book, check out this recap of an interview we had with one of our readers Rosi. She runs a YA book blog together with her blogging-partner Emily (they featured DotWQ there a couple of times.)
Now pretty pictures time, we’re really excited about these and can’t wait until they’re in the books for real. :)
And last, but not least…
A new project!
RFR is ending and that gives us a lot of free time. Since we’re bad at taking breaks and resting, we decided to begin a new project again! We’re not really ready to talk about the details yet, because we’re still figuring it out for ourselves, but let me tell you what we do know.
It will be a novel, in a futuristic post-apocalyptic setting, and it will combine our love of fantasy, sci-fi, and ancient history. It will also have multiple viewpoint characters from around the world. It will be the most ambitious project we’ve done so far, with a lot of concept art and illustrations. And it will be free-to-read on a blog, that we’ll later collect into ebooks whenever there’s enough material to do so. Also, we’ll probably start a Patreon for this project, if that’s something you guys fancy.
So, we’re still very early, but we hope to have something out by the end of this year. Below you can see our freshly installed brainstorming board in action, ready to capture all our amazing ideas.
And just as a reminder, if you’re an occasional reader, and don’t want to miss out on this project – sign up to our newsletter, because we will spam you about it!