What time of the day are you best, creatively?
I have always been a night writer, possibly because it’s a homophone of Knight Rider, and I’ve always wanted to be a permed man with a sentient Trans-Am. I do my writing at night, I do my pseudo-writing – editing, research, PR stuff – during the day. This is because, during the day, I am a bleary-eyed disaster area. A poorly collated anthology of rage, stupidity, confusion and sleep. This state of being does not, at first, seem to lend itself to creation. So I generally write at night, with a small glass of whiskey and a clear and civilized mind.
I’ve recently changed all that, and switched to writing first thing in the morning. I get up, immediately exercise — before I’ve even had that first coffee that switches off my kill-impulse — and sit down to write afterward. I figured I’d give it a shot, because on every single one of those “what’s your writing routine” posts you read on lit-sites, the vast bulk of the authors say something like: “Well, first I wake up well-rested, greet the sunshine with a friendly smile, pet a gaggle of bunnies, then skip to my writing meadow where I cheerily bash out sixteen thousand words of genius before breakfast.”
And while I’m still eagerly awaiting my Muse Bunnies and have yet to find an appropriate meadow with internet service, the routine shift is actually working. I’m not any better in the morning. It’s not any fun, and it’s certainly not easy to start. But it forces your hand. Forces you to get the creation out of the way, before you can settle down into a sleepy blur of lesser duties. On workdays, that means I do the actual writing part of my columns in the morning, then spend the rest of the day editing and trying to figure out the English equivalent of what I typed, which is usually something like “fugggasuimbitch vidja gumms.” On non-work days, I do a half-chapter or so of the book and then spend the rest of the day refining the furious-grizzly-bear-chase-sequences and smashing my pugs faces together trying to make it look like Yoda.
“Write in the morning” is not a revelatory tip. I know. I’ve read it elsewhere a million times, and I always rolled my eyes at these magical fucking morning people and their mystical ability to roll out of bed resembling something like a human being. But I just wanted to add to the pile of evidence, maybe tip the Great Creative Scales in favor of getting up during People Hours, if you were thinking of trying it.