Early Bird Writes the Book: An Interview with Author and Hamline Grad, Lucie Amundsen, on the Benefits of Early Morning Writing, By Jessica Lind Peterson
I wish I was a morning person. I really, really do. I wish I rose early enough to witness the morning sun kissing the horizon on its way up, to hear the birds early morning chatter. But I am not a morning person. Not even a little bit. I’ve tried everything from programming the coffee pot timer, setting multiple alarms, going to bed early. I’ve threatened and chastised myself. I’ve even bribed myself with doughnuts. But it’s hopeless. I like to sleep. As a writer/mom/theater producer/full time graduate student I recognize my anti-morning attitude is not ideal. I constantly feel behind in my work and wish there were more hours in the day. I could get a lot more writing done if I could just get my butt outta bed before the kids woke up.
Since I’m a serial snooze-pusher and have no actual wisdom to offer, I turned to early bird writer and recent Hamline grad, Lucie Amundsen (MFA ‘14), for inspiration. A Duluth-based writer, Lucie started an industry-changing egg farm, worked a day job, raised two small children and got her MFA all while managing to write the beautiful, award-winning book, Locally Laid. Lucie is my hero. Also, who better to be the star of my Early Bird Blog Post than an author who actually writes about birds? You’re welcome.
Jessica: Have you always been an early bird writer?
Lucie: I’ll admit it; I’m a morning gal so getting up early just feels right to me. But conversely, I pretty much lose my sense of humor by 10:00 PM, so I pay the price at night.
Jessica: Do you have a special morning ritual that helps with grogginess?
Lucie: I love that special groggy part of that morning. I’ve re-framed it into thinking it’s a creative period. Am I just tricking myself? Probably, but that’s ok. Back in the 90s, I heard Kate DiCamillo talk on MPR about getting up very early to her preprogrammed coffeemaker and slinking over to her desk because she didn’t really want to fully wake up before starting to write. I took that to heart.
Jessica: What advice do you have for us snooze-pushers?
Lucie: If you leave off at a fun place in your project and go to sleep thinking how great it will be to get back at it, you might actually be jazzed about that special morning time. I stopped setting an alarm altogether when I was writing hard on the project. I was just that excited to work on it before the rest of the day rushed in on me. It was always sad when I realized I needed to start the family morning hustle and then go to work.
Jessica: Is your early morning writing time always productive?
Lucie: It’s almost always productive. I have to be careful not to get sucked into reading the news online or checking Instagram or Facebook. If I can stay off those traps, I usually write well.
Jessica: What time do you wake up?
Lucie: When I was finishing the book, I was up and writing at about 4:15 AM (I know, I know) but now that I’m bereft of a big juicy project, I’m sleeping until 5:30. I wake kids and start making lunches at about 7:15.
Jessica: Do early morning writers have to also be early go-to-bedders?
Lucie: Yeah…I’m usually in bed around 9:30 so I can read for 30 minutes. This writer’s life is not a glamorous one, but I like it.
There you have it. Thank you, Lucie, for inspiring us all to get our pa-tooties outta bed and make some morning magic. And while you’re up, do yourself a favor and read her amazing book, Locally Laid, published by Penguin Random House.
To learn more about the Locally Laid Egg Company and Lucie’s work, we highly recommend checking out the company’s website.
Jessica Lind Peterson
Editorial Board Member
JESSICA LIND PETERSON is a playwright, actor and founder of Yellow Tree Theatre in Osseo, Minnesota. She has been a finalist for the Loft Short Story Contest, the Loft Mentor Series in Creative Nonfiction and the Common Good Books National Love Poem Contest. Her essays have either appeared or are forthcoming in River Teeth, Alaska Quarterly Review and Anomaly. She is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Hamline University. Visit her website here.