4:50 am, the alarm chimes. I try to turn it off before it has a chance to fully wake up my wife. As silently as my clumsy body allows, I grab my writing partner: a fifteen-pound Havanese named Luka, and head for the couch. I make my coffee (Chemex; darkest roast in the store) while I get Luka settled on the couch, nestled in the white fur blanket we bought for ourselves, but which Luka has taken as his own. I pour my coffee into my Gremlins mug (the undisputed best Christmas film ever) and begin writing. I have approximately one hour to write (less if Luka needs out).
I write most things long-hand first, especially poetry. It’s probably just in my head, but I feel a more personal connection to the work when writing with a pen. I have my current projects in a OneNote folder, to avoid jumping from project to project and never actually finishing anything. Currently, I’m working on a collection of Canadian Historical Atrocity poetry, so some of my writing hour might be spent researching the event I’m writing about. I find that when I write by hand, I spend less time staring at a blank page, like I do with a blank Microsoft Word page, like I did before writing “4:50 am”. I’ll start working on a new poem, or, if I have a poem I’ve written in my notebook, which has been sitting, gestating, for a few days, I’ll type that up. I’ll also use this window of time for any editing.
Just as I’m getting my stride, 6:00 am rolls around, and it’s time to get ready to mold the minds of the youth (I teach High School English). I have about an hour commute, one way, down winding country roads. This is where I get my best ideas, while half-listening to podcasts. My mind wanders, the trees on either side of the road create a cozy--
I snap back and focus my attention on the road. It used to be that I’d pull off the road to write my ideas in my Notes app. Now I’m working under the belief that if an idea is really that good, I’ll remember it. The exception to this rule is: if I think of a killer line, I will pull over to write it down.
Then I teach at a small high school. English, mostly, but in smaller schools you often find yourself teaching whatever needs to be taught. On rare occasions, I’ll have an idea or two while teaching, but mostly, my mental capacity is occupied by students.
I drive the hour home again, if I’ve had an exhausting day, it’s unlikely that I’ll have any great--
Exercise, dinner, quality time with my wife, then bed sometime between 8-9. If inspiration hits, I’ve been known to do a bit of writing in the evening, generally after a drink or two, with headphones on and listening to something dour and melancholic.
I sleep; I repeat.
Ian A. Bain (he/him) is a writer of dark fiction
and poetry living in Muskoka, Ontario. Ian enjoys Horror, coffee, and long
walks through the swamp with his wife and undead dog. Ian's poetry has most
recently been featured in Not Deer Magazine, his latest fiction is a short
story in Shiver: A Cold-Weather Horror Anthology, and his non-fiction
has been published by Rue Morgue. Ian can be stalked online at
@bainwrites on Twitter.