For the past month and a half, I’ve developed a habit of waking up every morning and immediately writing for 10 minutes nonstop. Before I do anything else (yes, even before coffee), I sit at the keyboard, set the timer and type for 10 minutes.
I started this morning ritual after reading an article about what some of the greatest authors, and most well-seasoned writers do to help them become better storytellers.
When I saw this tip, I immediately said, “Yup. Totally stealing that.”
The more you write, the better you become at perfecting the craft, no matter what time of day or what you write about. However, writing first thing in the morning ignites a certain creative fuel that allows your brain to continuously think like a storyteller for the rest of the day.
If you start your morning by engaging your brain and jump-starting your vast vocabulary, it makes you feel smarter (and who doesn’t like feeling smart?). Think of it this way: if you unleash your creativity right when you wake up, it forces you to actually wake up (as most of us are tired and braindead when we first rise out of bed), and it allows your brain to find other things throughout the day to describe creatively. And naturally, you get better at it!
So after writing for 10 minutes every day, I’ve gotten better at showing rather than telling when I am trying to describe things. I’ve found unique and creative ways to say something so simple.
Here are some of my 10-minute stories:
He put his left foot just slightly in front of his right and began his journey. One more step than he made yesterday. His path grew dark and shallow like an empty stomach in starvation mode, painfully swelling by the minute. But his swelling seemed to leak through his eyes. The minute hand on the clock adjusted itself about 30 degrees and he finally made it to his mother. She lay there staring at him, like no time had even passed. He couldn’t tell if she was withering away to nothing or had entirely disappeared from beneath the soil at this point. Either way, he didn’t want to know. He bent his head down as years of loss weighed heavy on him. After several more ticks of the minute hand, he looked up to the clouds where the sky began to share his scathing pain and leaked from its eyes to match his emotion. A single dove flew into his frame and circled around him like an infinity sign. He gazed at the beautiful weightless bird as it decorated the sky. A single feather came teetering down like a parachute with no sky diver in it. He watched it as it graced the top of his mother’s plaque.
“The birds will always carry my memories home. To my husband and son, don’t forget to fly and soar beyond the horizons.”
The river of tears grew lighter and lighter until eventually, they dried up. The clouds whispered away from the sun they once buried as the rays began to leak through, hugging the headstone once more. The man shuffled his feet to look busy. He bent his stoic face back once more and the bird was no longer dancing around him. Back to his mother. The moment he looked down, the wind had swept the sole feather up off the plaque as it swiftly moved towards the man’s home. Staring beyond his vision would allow him to see, he followed it there.
“Adam and Eve Remix”
Seven, six, five, four, three, two… a blank screen popped with white fume as the countdown grabbed on to number one. The slightest sliver of blue began peppering the screen in the corners but breathed in and out intermittently. It took several strokes of the minute hand before anything could me made out or noticeable. The wiry grass on the hills were defined with each incline the hill made. At the top sat a tree full of fall’s laciest leaves, bright with orange, yellow, green, and purple ombre decorating it like a stylish umbrella. What a giving tree. Eve skipped along up the hill until she reached this majestic creation by His finest. She stood three feet away from its magnificent trunk, titled her head back and saw the juiciest red apple heading towards her. Ker-plunk. Before she even had enough time to react, the apple surprised her with a bull’s eye sore on the right side of her head. Eve placed one hand on the attacked spot, and another she used to reach down for this fallen apple. It was perfect. Everything about it screamed beauty with its perfectly shaped form, and the right amount of captivating shine as the sun sparkled around it and left patterns of light to enjoy. She had to have it. She took a swift but good sized bite out of the perfect sides and chewed on it like a cow desperately enjoying its grass. Adam noticed his dear friend standing at the top of this hill. She always looked like an angel no matter what she did in his eyes. He raced towards her to tell her supper was ready at his place if she would fancy to join. But when he got to the top, Eve made a 360 degree turn without seeming to move a muscle and stared large-eyed and blankly at Adam. Her eyes were glazed over white and the single bite of the apple lay at her feet with the rest of the apple rolling down the hill towards a six-foot snake. She collapsed stiffly and rolled down towards the snake who was waiting for her at the bottom. Adam saw the apple she had taken a bite out of; he picked it up and was enamored by its perfection. He paused for a moment before he took a bite out of the other side. He chewed his piece entirely and took note of how perfectly the taste matched its beauty. He walked to the base of the tree, slumped down against it, and finished the apple.
His eyes cracked open so the sunrise seemed apparent to him as he sat slumped in an indented corner wall of third street. He saw the suits strutting by just freshly pressed as if their wives had their hands all over them before they left for work. All Bernie could think of was the shopping cart that carried his emotions inside, something everyone he passed could see. His dog, Zora, curled up on the opposite corner of the indented street wall as her wiry fur stood somberly erect as flies partied around her. Bernie needed her. Every time he looked at her, though, a heavy weight was added to his shopping cart. For every place his wheels rolled his emotions through the city, one more empty stomach was suffering. No amount of collected cans, abandoned clothing on the streets, or petty coins collected would ever be enough. He had no particular talents to offer, he always told himself how he royally screwed up, and at this point, he felt as if he were already six feet under. As someone who never pierced their skin with a needle, someone who always placed others at the forefront of his heart and decisions, Bernie couldn’t understand… “why me?”. The economy never brightened up nearly as much as the sunset that lit up Bernie’s eyelids as he woke every morning. He never had the chance to climb the workforce ladder to shake those hands that come out of those high grade suits that ignored him every day. He never made it to the one percent. All Bernie could ever feel was the rich drowning in their bathtubs of money and the poor growing taller in theirs. He was simply the first to see the bottom of the tub. Because no one could see his kind heart on the outside, and because no one stopped to glance at the troubles his cart stored every day, Bernie forced his eyelids back together, only to let the sun leak in the next day… where he would do the same thing all over again.
Still a work in progress but I feel confident that I get better every day. What I posted here were just a few samples of short stories I wrote in 10 minutes at the brink of falling back asleep.
But I’m so glad I found that article and am utilizing this tip because it has definitely helped me and it’s also extremely therapeutic. Escaping the world the moment I wake up is a beautiful artistic form of meditation to some degree. So for all you writers out there seeking to hone your skills in scribe, I urge you to take advantage of the first 10 minutes of your day! You will not be sorry.