Thursday, August 11, 2011

Night Writer

The other week, my friend and agency-mate Natalie blogged about writing something every day, regardless of how much time you have, and not worrying whether you write a sentence, a paragraph, a page or multiple pages.

I took her words to heart because I realized I've been throwing in the towel way too easily on days that aren't "perfect" for writing. I've gotten it into my head that I AM A MORNING WRITER AND CANNOT WRITE AT NIGHT. IT MUST EVER BE THUS.

I'm fine with doing research at night, or brainstorming in a notebook, but actually opening up the (gasp) document and adding to it is off limits for some reason, so for years I've stuck to morning-only typing. In the morning, my mind seems clearer and more open to creativity, uncluttered by the events of the day because there have been no events. At night, I'm tired from work, and tired from my commute, and I really just want to curl up on the couch with a Millionaire Matchmaker marathon (the episode I caught recently with Patty's parents was priceless).

But some mornings I want, or need, to sleep in. Unfortunately, I also want to finish what I'm working on, and if I'm not writing as often in the mornings, how am I supposed to do it?

Two weeks ago I dared to break my No Typing at Night rule. I know, I am crazy adventurous.

The first few tries were tough. I splashed cold water on my face, sat in my desk chair, shut my ears to the TV's siren song, and managed to barely, and painfully, churn out 500 words over a two hour period. Slow but steady progress was made.

After another week or so, I got the hang of it, and last weekend, I wrote 6,000 words, all in the afternoon/evening. In fact, I finished the draft! But if I'd stuck to my Mornings-Only rule I'd still be floundering, and beating myself up for not being done yet.

Do you have rules about when and where you can write?


  1. Sarah!

    You and I are like the freaky-friday of writing. We've switched! When I was in college and immediately post college, I was a night time writer all the way. I did my best thinking and writing from 11pm until 2am , totally feeling the flow. Then, somewhere between temp jobs and full jobs, and theater jobs, I couldn't keep the same hours. Suddenly, my brain flipped - and I'm not a morning person, let alone a morning writer - suddenly I was creating in the morning more efficiently, productively, and happily. So now, I mostly try to get it done in the morning...but I can feel myself switching again...I'm slowly moving into the 2pm-5pm slot. I wonder if it's just that we write at certain times of the days, in certain times of our lives, and that like exercise, our brains just need to switch it up? Somehow we trust ourselves to be ready for the change and know we will keep creating - sometimes succeeding our expectations? Keep having fun writing at night and see what develops.

  2. Congrats on finishing the first draft! Such good news. :)

    I don't have any real rules about writing but I'd say my best writing happens in my old green armchair. I like it there.

  3. Kayla, I was definitely a night writer in college, too! I have fond memories of rallying around my dorm friends whenever anyone had a paper due. We'd refuel the person's coffee and snacks, keep them up, offer proof reading and stop them from sleeping so they could make the deadline.

    Thanks, Miranda. Your green armchair sounds way comfy.

  4. Sarah! I follow you on Twitter but I didn't know you had a blog. FUN!

  5. Hi Sarah! Congrats on finding your writer's zen. :) Sometimes you just have to MAKE yourself write. And it can sure be painful. LOL. But it's for our own good! It's so nice to meet a fellow Amulet writer! Thnx for following my blog. Your book sounds great! It'll be coming out a few months before mine! I'll be sure to preorder it. :)

  6. Congrats on finishing a draft! And not during your natural writing hours.

    Since I live a crazy hectic life with a job where I get to make my own hours (code: my clients get to pick the hours I work) I write whenever I can.

    I've been known to pack the laptop on a car ride, sit up until 2 am or write on a Saturday while my husband tries to make breakfast, my two-year-old is running around in circles "watching" tv and my dogs are...well you get the picture.

    That's why revisions are needed I suppose. Unfortunately life has to be quieter for those...Thank God for nap time!

  7. Wanna hear something funny?

    I've always, always been a night writer. And then when I got a 6-week turnaround on edits for my book (and it was the most hectic time for me at the day job), I had no choice but to write both in the mornings and at night.

    And now...I basically decided to give the morning writing a try, mainly so that I can go to the gym in the evenings. I gave it a whirl for the first time this morning. Probably a few hours before you wrote this.

    Oh, the parallels. Will they ever cease?!

  8. Shelly, thanks so much for stopping by! Really appreciate it.

    Anita, same here! I can't tell you how exciting it is to meet another Amulet writer. I bet your book is fabulous. They have great taste there ;) Looking forward to chatting more soon.

    Reagan, thanks so much for the comment. I think it's awesome that you find time whenever possible to write, even with chaos all around, and I agree -- revisions are what it's all about.

    Sarv, I, for one, hope the parallels never end :) I think you'll like being a morning writer. I pass the baton to you. Make me proud. For some reason, I can edit any time of day. I just couldn't write new material at night, but that's changing, apparently.