Thursday, August 13, 2009

Writing Biorhythms

Do you have a time when your brain is better suited for writing?

I know I do. As a professional writer, I've trained myself to write any time, any where. However, the fact remains: I write better during daylight hours, preferably between 9:00 AM and noon.

Yesterday, I took Mason to the beach for three hours. We played and played and I thought for certain he'd be tired by the end of the day after all that healthy sunshine and exercise. He did get to bed at a reasonable hour, but then guess what? I was tired too! I did get a bit of writing done after hours, but I have to tell you, writing at night, for me, is just plain HARD. I can do it, but it's not "natural" for me, you know?

Strangely, I think I got in the habit of writing during the day when I had a regular job. I was the world's worst employee. I tell my friends in business: "Never hire me." Because I'm the consummate slacker. I get only enough done not to get fired, and I spend the rest of the time stealing your office supplies and writing my novel on company time. I wrote five novels while "working" full-time that way. Bad. And, like I said, the 9 to 5 mentality still infuses my writing brain. My brain thinks: office hours = writing hours. After hours = play and sleep. Now, with child at home, that's reversed.

It's hard to retrain the brain, though it can be done. I've now written nearly as many novels at home with small child as I did with a regular job. Many a midnight oil has been burned. But... I still don't like it. Even after years of writing this way (although now, only during summer,) it's still a bit like pulling teeth.

So how about you? All things being equal, when do you write best?


Jon said...

I prefer daytime or really, really late at night. It's evening time that I can't get any real progress done.

DKoren said...

That's fascinating! I think I got trained from school years on that you fulfilled your obligations from 8-5 (school, job, etc.), and then after that, you could do your own thing. So, I still write in the evenings, from dinner to bedtime. I have never been able to write in the mornings, though I can often edit during mornings on the weekend.

Douglas Hulick said...

I find I write best when I have more than six hours of sleep. So, in other words, I'm usually not ay my optimum. :)

Paul Lamb said...

Morning. Early, early morning. Like 3:00 a.m. I have to have quiet and solitude.

jen@ywt said...

I go through phases with it, it's been all around the clock at different points in my life. Right now it's all about late morning/early afternoon for typing up pencil notes, and late in the evening (while the music's seeping through) for more pencil notes. Seems to depend on my internal clock setting, which always was loopy and got even loopier after I became chronically ill.

Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

I can edit during the day, but I get my best writing done at night, after the hubby and baby have gone to bed and it's just me and the cat. It's calming.

Anonymous said...

I'm naturally nocturnal. In high school, I'd wake up at 2am to get my homework finished, then go back to bed until 7am. How I made it through school without sleeping all day is beyond me. But my brain seems to be best focused from about 4pm until about 5am. If I could live in a world that let me sleep from 6am or so until about 3pm or so, I'd have it made!

If I can't get at least seven hours' sleep and/or I have to get up at 6am for any reason, I'm just completely worthless.