If you ask anyone who knows me well, he or she will know with certainty what my schedule is like. I'm a creature of habit, after all, a little bit OCD, as relatives and co-workers might add. The point is, however, that I am quite happy in my dysfunctionality. My writing schedule, except right now, begins about 4:00 am any day of the week, any time of year. I'm an early riser, always have been, and when Santa was coming Christmas mornings through my childhood, my parents and even my siblings hated me because I would wake them all up between 2-3:00 in the morning to let them know he'd arrived and what we all got. Even after I was older, I still couldn't hide my excitement and woke up early. Most mornings, too, I wake up in a good mood.
I drink half and half coffee now and still have energy enough for two. It used to drive my college room mates crazy that I would wake up so early and read or clean while having coffee, and even now, I type away on the computer while a few feet away, my wife continues to sleep and has become conditioned to the noises I make, clicking the keys and the creaking my desk chair, a hand-me-down from the poet laureate of Tennessee, Maggie Vaughan, an eccentric soul and former country music song writer for greats such as Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, and Ernest Tubb. Maggie is the only writer I've ever been with anywhere, but then in a Rotary Club in Tennessee, who charmed the Mayor out of his Barbour blazer (very expensive) through humor and at the same time brought the house to tears reading a poem about her mama.
I tend to get a lot done. Recently, I've taken on some interesting little projects: writing reviews for new books by Janice Daugharty, John Michael Cummings, and Clyde Edgerton, all great writers; writing short stories and submitting a few of them to journals and magazines; writing a formal literary criticism paper; writing a proposal for Criminal Minds, a television drama; writing a film script proposal for an agency. All these are mostly done in the early morning hours before the sun comes up. Of course, I get to work and put in a full day. At night, around 9pm, if I can't find something interesting on Discovery, National Geographic, or the History channel, I'll watch some reruns of Sanford and Son, Everybody Loves Raymond, or All in the Family. I love the older television shows, but I must admit that I'm much more interested in Big Foot and UFOs, but rest assured, as soon as I can, I fall asleep.
Despite my early writing schedule, many days pass by when I don't write at all, sadly (other than personal correspondence at work, via my home email, or on facebook, which I've really come to love lately). Sometimes, the ideas just aren't there, and I'd rather not write just to write than write something not worth writing. I've done a lot of that through the years, no doubt about it.
Currently, I am blogging from a cafe in Panama City Beach, Florida, where I've come for a brief vacation, and the heat, the lack of connectivity, the crowds and noise are all getting on my nerves. The sea is beautiful and makes my getting up early worth it even more, looking out at the emerald water and feeling the salty sea breeze. It's inspirational--that and watching my kids enjoy their grandparents, their great Aunt Naomi, their Uncle Coleman and his new bride Misty. It's also rather comforting that what is colloquially referred to as the "redneck riviera" seems to be an accepting place. No one pointed and laughed as I made my way to the pool today and plopped in a vinyl chair, revealing more than an inch of Special K pinch and my lily white skin, so white now that veins are visible. Of course, most of the people looked worse than me. I haven't been here in over twenty five years and can't seem to locate where I stayed with my high school buddies when we spent a weekend drinking T.J. Swan wine, playing dinosaur putt-putt, getting sun-burned so bad blisters formed and acting silly like teenagers do, but even then, I was on schedule and thought about life and writing.
Niles Reddick is author of a collection of Road Kill Art and Other Oddities, which was a finalist for an Eppie award, and a novel Lead Me Home, which was a finalist for a ForeWord Award and was a finalist for first novel in the Georgia Author of the Year Awards.
He is author of numerous short stories in journals and anthologies. He lives in Tifton, Georgia, where he works for Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. His website is www.nilesreddick.com