Write Early, Write Often, Write Noise, Write Snake, Write Power

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.

5 thoughts on “Write Early, Write Often, Write Noise, Write Snake, Write Power

  1. Kyle

    As the mood arrives. I’m not professionally talented enough to have a career banging out hot chicks and key strokes. Typically whenever the mood arrives to settle nicely upon my hands I’ll send the letters a stroke of bad luck and insist they instill my emotions onto thought. Liquor is a friend as is exercise and sometimes together, but I certainly can’t recommend. Other times a cool shower or brisk swim in a cold pool will force thoughts out. Which, I’ve often wondered if our brain operates under the assumption that discomfort provides an outlet for juicy creativity. All in all, I would agree that wee hours grant more wishes, so to speak. Just a thought.

  2. John

    I do all of my writing at night. People don’t appreciate it when you come to their places of business and spray-paint graphic warnings about the impending sex-bot apocalypse and racial slurrs against races that don’t yet exist in this dimension on their facade. And they certainly don’t appreciate it when you do it in hot-pink Duracoat; that’s stuff’s illegal in NYC for a reason! So I try to stick to the night-time for my creative musings: The civilized folk have all gone home and slipped into the illuminatti-controlled dreamspace, the authorities are off looking for working girls to “arrest,” and I can blend in perfectly with the mentally-disturbed wine-os. Because I have been chosen by SpaceMaster Xanthadern to deliver these messages, and she does not tolerate failure…

  3. Andrea

    Similar to Kyle, when the mood strikes and the mood is often depending on what I’m writing. But when it comes down to the hard parts, the tricky parts that just seem to sit there and mock you somewhere in the back of your brain… It depends. I do a lot of writing during the downtime at work between answering calls because the alternative is to stare at my cubicle wall blankly. I don’t enjoy it though.

    My most enjoyable writing, when I submerge myself into my characters like a chemical vat of awesome or insanity would be very early in the morning… before I go to bed (very much a night owl here.) It’s not really that coherent because I’m half-asleep at that point, but I enjoy it on a visceral level. It’s like how some people’s best ideas come to them as they’re drifting to sleep, but I’ve managed to capture that sleepy mindset and suspend it for an hour or two in which I write madly and passionately.

  4. Puzzled Pagan

    I’ve always found nights a good time to get writing done, and then go back and polish it up in the morning. I can be creative in the night and anatlytic enough to go back and make it make sense in the morning.

  5. Julie

    I hate regular people hours. However, I do find when I force myself out of bed, I do get more accomplished. It was one of those revelations you have which forces you to think “Crap. When did I become a grown up. This sucks.”

    The key is to NEVER admit to your parents they were right. Just never.


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