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Friday, April 21, 2006

When Do You Write?

I was having a conversation with a friend about writing and editing (you know writers; if we're not writing, we're talking about writing). Specifically, we were talking about the times that we do particular writing related tasks. I realised that my approach is this:

  • I write best in the morning
  • edit best in the afternoon
  • and have my best ideas in the middle of the night

Why is this? Well, I've always been a morning person, so whatever job I've done, mornings have always been my most productive time. It's the time of day when I have most energy and my brain is freshest. When I lived in the Caribbean, days started early. Sunrise was anytime from 5.30am and most people were at their office desks by 8am. So it's sort of in the blood. Even though I live in the UK where it's often still dark at 8am, my brain still works the same way. Even when mornings are cold and grey, I'm still more of a morning person. That's why I tend to do most of my writing then. Anything I write in the morning will be better, crisper and will need less editing than writing done in the afternoon or at night. Other morning tasks include replying to urgent emails or emails that require a well-thought-out response.

After about 2pm, the writing is not as good, though I do it if I have to. (Heck, I've written at midnight if I have a deadline to meet!) So I tend to keep the afternoons for editing work that I've previously written. Somehow, my pernickety streak works well in the afternoon - and this is useful for editing tasks. Maybe it's because I'm tired after a morning of writing. Other tasks that I do in the afternoon are replying to non-urgent email, uploading articles to InspiredAuthor, some blogging and responding to comments (though that sometimes creeps into the morning as well), making appointments and phone calls.

The best and the worst bit, however, is getting ideas. I love having ideas for new pieces of writing, but I don't like the fact that they usually come at 2 or 3am. Inspiration is great, but with a toddler who's up at the crack of dawn, I really need my sleep. I suppose I shouldn't complain, though. I've written poems, children's stories, short stories and blog posts in my head in the middle of the night. Sometimes I've even woken up so I can write them down, because the only thing worse than lying awake all night with an idea is not being able to remember it in the morning. That's happened to me a few times when I've been too tired to get up. Now I keep a pen and paper in a drawer next to the bed so I can scribble some illegible notes. That way there's at least a chance I'll be able to have something to write the next day.

When do you write?

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