Is Jon Acuff A Liar?

I respect Jon Acuff and thoroughly enjoyed his books. They were inspiration to me and if I had an inordinate amount of money I’d have them all in hardcover. They were water to my creative soul, and gave me drive to work hard and joy at being productive. Unfortunately, I tried to implement one of his suggestions and I failed, utterly.

DawnAround the country there are people who get up and meet at 5am. These people have taken a page from Acuff’s book Start. I don’t recall the official title of these stoic individuals but something like Starters or 5amers comes to mind. Anyway, Mr Acuff says starting early can help your productivity throughout the day. Start goes on to say that it’s easier to do whatever it is you strive to do or be (WRITER!) before the day’s cares and stresses have at you and sap your energy. I wholeheartedly agree with this. If I get up early and pray, read the bible, have a bit of writing time, then enter my day, it is 100% more productive than if I just get up, stumble to the coffee pot and then to work.

You may or may not agree that there are morning people and night owls. They may be subjective terms that mean productive members of society and unmotivated slackers. But how does Mr. Acuff expect me to get up at 5am when I’ve just been up at 2am and 4am with my children? And I won’t even mention my cat. Bandit, I love you, but clawing my face at 3am is not appreciated. Ever had sick kids and be up all night? Try getting up when you are already up. Ouch.

Though it was a huge inspiration, I find myself diverting from a lot of what is said in the book Start to “what works for me whenever it works for me and does not take away from my family time”. I’ve wasted a lot of time looking at what other people do and try to implement their formulas. The thing is I am not them. Their plan worked for them during that portion of their life and got them to where they are today. It might not work for you and me. We might have to find another way.

I was talking with my wife the other day and lamented the fact that I simply cannot count on the morning hours to write, not at this juncture in my life anyway. It has worked in the past, just not now with children this young. She asked me what worked for me and I thought about it. When is the perfect time for me to write?

I‘d like to think of myself as that responsible morning person: get up, make coffee, and put the house in order before anyone is up. I get some exercise in, some writing too, and have an effective morning launch into my day. But maybe I am that slacker night owl that writes until 1am four nights a week.

So for now, I am going to write when I can count on it: when everyone else is asleep and I am awake. Per my wife’s brilliant suggestion, I cleared a shelf next to my bed and bought a 15$ fan to curb the clickety-clack of the keys on my laptop so my wife can sleep.

I guess the idea of Start is to, well, start. Mr Acuff, you weren’t wrong there. Thanks for the inspiration to keep going.

Write 500 words today!



16 thoughts on “Is Jon Acuff A Liar?

  1. I’ve long been a cheerleader for doing what works for the individual. So many articles and blog posts and books have been written to tell people how to do what they do…but you are the only one who knows what *really* works for you.

    If staying up late to write makes one a slacker, then I proudly claim that title. Just remember, we’re the cool ones…

  2. My wife says I complain too much about not getting enough time. And she is right, I shouldn’t complain, because complaining does nothing to improve the situation. Yet, it doesn’t change how I feel, that frustration when I want to write but can’t because there is either no time or I’m too tired. The days where I could get up at five in the mornings or work deep into the night are long gone. My kids keep me busy during the day and night. I write during stolen moments. Thats about all I can do for now. It is what it is. So I feel your pain, Bob. We do what we must with what we have. As long as we keep moving forward.

    Good luck and thanks again for making me feel not alone with this writing thing.

    1. Have you heard of the term “writing in the cracks”? My friend who is an editor told me about it. It basically means writing 5 minutes here or there. It’s not a ton, but at least it is something. Also, the person who coined it was Madeleine L’Engle, I believe and could be completely wrong about that. I found this article the other day and thought it both amusing and striking. I think you might enjoy it as well as it discusses most of the things we wrestle with.

  3. Young kids and writing are always an interesting mix! I do manage to heave myself out of bed once or twice a week at 5.30am to squeeze in some quiet writing time, but that’s about it I’m afraid. Like you, I’m realising the evening is a more productive time for me. Great post

    1. Thank you! How is your book coming (the young adult one)? I’ve been having a hard time writing blog posts and reading them. Evenings are not ideal but I’m already awake, I figure, why not!

  4. Bryan Forester

    Hey Bob, great post. I was actually just listening to Start on audio book yesterday and he actually does mention (after encouraging everyone to get up early) that the real intention is to do what works for you. He talks about his SWORD method that was actually a hindrance and how all the stuff you read from other motivating authors is just what works for them. So my takeaway is to claim more time, whenever you can!

    1. Bryan, Wow I don’t remember that at all. Now I need to write a post about how I am a liar! Claim more time. Sounds like you need to write a blog post on that. 🙂 Great title/idea.

      1. Bryan Forester

        Nope, I’m the liar. I just listened to it again, and he really does say that “don’t get up earlier because it worked for me, get up earlier because..” and then he lists his arguments for increased mental/physical strength and willpower. I guess I just picked up on the “don’t get up earlier because it worked for me” part. I’d love to write a blog post about it, but I’m really trying to do another Acuff principle: spend 10 hours (or 100 hours) learning/developing (game programming for me) for each 1 hour of discussing/demonstrating (blogging for me).

      2. Bryan, Well either way it’s good to knock me off my high horse sometimes 😉 That’s admirable. I need to focus more developing myself. Thanks for the reminder.

        On Tue, May 13, 2014 at 2:04 PM, Part-Time Novel wrote:


  5. Pingback: I Stayed Inside | Life { Faith } Tea

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s