Writers Find Fame and Fortune by Waking up This Way

[Bad] Ideas | Scriptdog

How Successful Writers Wake Up in the Morning

Do you remember the best day of your life?

Do you remember how you woke up that day?

Alarms are the worst way to wake up if you want wealth | Photo by AdobeUnsplash

I have a theory that how my day goes is directly related to how I wake up. I didn’t claim it was a brilliant, or ground-breaking theory.

My Grandpa had a theory too:
If I wake up in the morning, there’s a good chance I’m still alive.

If we wake up on our own, that’s the best. No alarm, no sunlight bleeding in around the blinds, nobody jumping on us, no smoke, no earthquake.

According to data collected by S.J. Perelman, writers in the top 1 percent of earnings are writers who wake up on their own.

This means with no alarm clock, no outside intrusions, nothing other than our own inner sleep rhythms coming to a graceful momentary end, allowing our eyes to open and for the real world to wash back over us.

Waking up on our own is a luxury. It could mean you were able to sleep in to whatever hour you wished. It could mean you went to bed early and your 6, 8, 10 hours were satisfied and your body’s clock did its thing.

Most of us don’t always have the luxury, or privilege to wake up on our own. Let’s put waking up on your own off to the side.

Noise. Light. Smells. Physical stuff.

These are the categories of phenomena that can blast us from a stupor to… whatever word you like to use for the waking state: reality, that’s a popular word people use. I’m in the camp that sleeping and dreaming is the real reality, and this, being awake, is a simulation. But I’m weird.

One of the best ways to wake up even if you’re not Homer Simpson | Bacon CoalitionPexels


Do you remember the best day of your life?

Do you remember how you woke up that day?

For me, the best day of my life was one where I woke up to the smell of bacon.

That day was one of seven that significantly changed my life. It was a day when I decided to tell the world to take a hike because I was going to stay home and play in the backyard with my kids. Turns out that my playing ball in the backyard was interpreted as playing hardball by a producer who was expecting me to show up for a pitch meeting.

The producer got me on the phone rather than in his office and I really wasn’t in the mood to pitch, or SELL in anyway. He thought this meant I had sold the pitch to another producer, his nemesis. I let him think this. He added a business affairs lawyer to the call and made a binding offer for my pitch there on the phone.

The guy I was pitching, by the way, was Adam Sandler’s partner. This sale ignited my screenwriting career and led to a ton more projects. The sale was announced in Variety with my name in the headline followed by the words Six Figures. I’m going into this detail not to brag or humblebrag, but to share this: because I woke up to the smell of bacon, I was in a mood that made me say yes to my kids and the backyard and no to some bs meeting that would have in no way gone as well if I had appeared in person with my little notebook and eager-to-please demeanor.

Okay that was the bacon-wake-me day.

The worse day was when my 3-year-old son woke me up by saying “Daddy has two eyes, one, two,” and jabbing them both, hard. They were half open when his finger went in, bam bam, and I ended up needing to have surgery on both, with my interocular lenses being replaced.

Youngest guy with two cataracts, that was me.

I don’t blame my son. It’s not like every time I see him, I’m seeing him through fake eyes, eyes that can’t focus on him unless he is exactly 18 inches away from, not at all. It wasn’t his fault that at the early age of 3 he didn’t know his own strength nor that eyes aren’t like doorbells. He was learning to count. He was being playful. It’s not like I use my eyes a ton, it’s not like I’m sitting at a keyboard a lot, or reading or writing or on film sets where your peripheral vision is critical in order to keep an awareness of…

But I digress.

Back to the point:

Good wake-up days are days full of energy, light on depression, filled with laughter and happy-go-lucky bounciness. Bad days are blah.

Transitions are tough for me. If I’m awake, I want to stay awake. If I’m asleep, I want to stay asleep.

How can you increase your earnings by waking up in an optimal way?

As I am writing this a man passed by and said he liked my office. I’m sitting outside on a deck of a cafe overlooking a pool and a pond (I can’t help but think of Caddyshack)…


… and he asked me what I was writing about. Well, let’s let the old guy speak for himself:

Hey there, whatcha writing about?
Waking up.
Hmmm. Interesting.
The best ways to be woken up.
Blow jobs. That’s an easy one. I mean if you’re including the soft caresses of a horny lover as an option.

This guy was in his late 70s so, yeah.

I’m saying it’s the smell of bacon, I said.
Oh, yeah, that’s a good one. Or corn on the cob. But I mean if you’re waking up to the smell of corn on the cob, you might have bigger problems.
I remember one time, back in college, I had a roommate and we had bunk beds and every morning this coed from our sister hall would come into our room and climb up in the bunk bed with me, I was on the top, and she would slide in next to me. That was a nice way to wake up.

This is when his wife ambled up and asked what he was laughing at.

Just chatting with this nice man here about waking up in the morning.
Folger’s. Folger’s is the best way to wake up, she said.
That’s what I was telling him. Folgers.
Then quietly to me he said, I think her name was Sharon. College was fun. Let’s head home now, hun.
He hustled away, his wife at his side. I think the memories about waking up were waking him up. No time to waste.

I don’t know if it’s irony, or if we do live in a simulation, but as they left, the song that came on over the cafe speakers was the Who’s Squeeze Box. Lordy.

To be honest with you, dear reader, dear writer, I think I have lost the focus of this essay. I have no idea what point I was trying to make.

I will say this:

I think alarms are in the top three worst ever inventions. (The other two are cheese logs and the word packet. Seriously, say packet ten times out loud and see how gross it is. It’s like package, but worse. Do it, try it. Say it out loud over and over and you’ll see what I mean. Now, a fun word to say out loud over and over is SPATULA. Go for it. Spatula. Spat. U. La. Spat u la… say it out loud over and over and see how fast you start smiling. (Sorry if people are now staring at you like you’re an imbecile.)

The same study referenced above, for which I have no reference, goes on to list the ways that writers with the worst earnings wake up by the following means and should be avoided to the extent possible.

Top 10 Worst Ways to Be Woken Up If You Want to Be a Successful Writer:

  1. Car horns
  2. Vacuums
  3. Any song by Bessie Smith.
  4. Neon signs outside your window (easy to avoid as long as you don’t live in 40’s noir film).
  5. Door bells, hard knocking or rabid animals (a three-way tie). Oddly, three-ways did not appear on the list.
  6. Construction (especially happening inside the room).
  7. Smoke Alarms in the middle of the night.
  8. Crying. (Babies, lovers, neighbors).
  9. Dripping water.
  10. A fart that’s not yours.

What’s your wake-up / wake-me-up strategy?


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Writer, Director, Producer of TV, Film and Stand-Up Comedy Tours in the MENA region and Asia. Writer's Guild, Director's Guild and Producer's Guild member. WARNING: Microdosing content will shift paradigm.

West Hollywood, CA

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