Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Writing When the Sun Comes Up

Since I can remember, I have written late at night, after all else is completed and the day is done. In recent years, this has meant that the clock will tick towards 10pm and I'll finally sit down on my little couch, fling my knees over the arm of it, and begin.  It also means I'll go to bed very late with a fever of words and I will not fall asleep until something inside me simmers and slows.

In the aftermath of the Sandy storm, I was given a rare week off from work.  I researched, wrote and cooked most of each day.  I read before bed, then fell asleep quickly.  For the first time in years, my sleep was heavy.  I woke up rested. I remembered my dreams.

My restful sleep may have had something to do with the fact that I did not have to go in to the office. But writing during the day also meant that my mind was far more peaceful at night.

As a result, I've decided to make a significant shift; to reverse my writing life. To write in the morning after I rise with the sun (well, in these days, before it.)

It's only been a few days since I began the experiment.  I'm not sure it will be an easy transition.  I have always written very late at night. Since I was a little girl. My parents would go to sleep and I would turn my light back on. Writing has always been a secret in the dark. Just for me.

But since I began, I realize the ritual is symbolic. Writing is the first thing I do.  Not the last.  I wake up happy, knowing I have given myself the time to be with my secret, to do what I love.

We'll see how this goes.  I don't know how I'll feel at the end of the week, how my body will react to new hours of sleep, how I'll fare for the hours I need to be at the office and the freelance work that awaits me when I get home.  But we'll see.

What time of day do you write?  Have you ever made a significant adjustment to your writing schedule?


  1. This is really interesting -I write before bed too. Mainly because I get up at 630 anyway, and the thought of making that 5am or such just... well. I don't think it would happen. But I do sometimes think writing first thing I would be fresher!

  2. I write whenever, but prefer the evening when all is quiet, or the very early hours. I once heard it took about a week to establish a bad habit, but about a month or so to establish a good one. hang in there and give it a chance to work. Cheers and glad you made it through Sandy.

  3. I actually have to limit myself to only writing on either Saturday or Sunday, otherwise I get so caught up I forget about things like going to work. At first it was hard to know I had to wait ALL FREAKING WEEK, but now it's like my special time. I sit down with snacks and just let it all flow.

  4. I love the idea of making writing the first thing you do, instead of the last!

    But I've always been a night writer, too. Even during the summer months, when I have all day to devote to writing, I can't usually sit down for serious writing in the morning. Generally, I blog in the morning. Late at night, I draft new words.

    Revising, I do in between.

  5. I write better at night, Melissa. But this past Saturday, I found myself writing first thing in the morning. I think with having kids, night writing is better, because it is presumably uninterrupted. :)

  6. I write in the mornings, when I feel rested and productive. By the time night comes around, I'm always too tired and lazy to do much of anything. :)

  7. I have to write mornings and a few stolen hours in the afternoon...lucky b/c I don't have an office job...but my brain is fried at night; nothing comes to me. Done, dead, nothing. Anxious to hear how you feel at the end of the week too - and not good for Hurricane, but glad you had some time off!

  8. I've made the same shift over the last year! I used to write at night because it was my quiet time when (usually) no one would get up and interrupt me. But now that my kids are older, the evening seems to be busier and the mornings are quiet. So I made the switch out of the necessity of quiet, ha. It was hard at first but now I relish it. And I'm so much happier to do mundane work because I feel my real work has already been done.

    Julia Cameron (The Artists' Way)also writes about the importance of Morning Pages. So I think there really is something about the start of your day.
    Catherine Denton

  9. I did the same! I used to write in the evening, or rather had the intention of writing every evening. My recent writing challenge turned that notion on its head and I've made a commitment to getting up at 6am. And I have to say, I love it. It finally feels right -- I'm inspired, energized for my work day -- and I've written more than I have in YEARS.

    What makes it even funnier is that I'm in no way, shape or form a morning person. In fact I'm quite the opposite, but it finally works. Go figure!

  10. I’m definitely a morning-writer, because I’m a morning person in general. But I agree with your thinking about making writing a priority by moving it to first thing in the day. Symbolically and practically, I think that’s a great idea!