Writing and Time of Day

Photo Credit  Used under a CC license
Photo Credit    Used under a CC license

Does time of day matter to writers?

I think it does. I think it matters more than most of us are willing to admit.

What time of the day is the best time of day for you to write? Why?

Without question the best time for me to write is when I first wake up. Taking care of writing first means it’s unlikely to get de-railed by other people, projects, or my own internal conflicts. Any time I’ve been successful in working steadily toward a goal, it’s because I put first things first.

This is my perfect morning:

  • Get up at 6 am
  • Work out for half an hour-ish
  • After workout, set up coffee to brew while I shower
  • 7 am Write and drink coffee for 2 hours
  • 9 am Eat breakfast
  • 9:15 back to writing until 10:30

But here is what my typical morning looks like:

  • Alarm goes off at 6 am. I ignore it so that I can ruminate on whatever fresh hell the day will bring with it.
  • Actually get out of bed at 6:40. Get ready for work and leave house by 6:55
  • Arrive at work at 7:45  Make coffee and avoid cheerful co-workers if I can.
  • 8 am- start work
  • 10 am- eat breakfast on my coffee break

Obviously I’m going to need to make some changes in my world to get the writing schedule I want. It is a work in progress.

What time of day do you actually write? Is it the same as your ideal time? 

I write from 2 or 2:30 pm until suppertime.  Unfortunately with little consistency. It’s nowhere near ideal. The worst time for me to do anything at all is the middle of the afternoon. The low-blood sugar + “I need a nap” doldrums start to plague me. Facebook and other dumb things call out for my attention. The dentist calls. Some distractions have been removed, but I am working on removing more.

Honestly, sometimes I think people will just have to start locking me in a small windowless bathroom with my notebook, some pens, and a laptop without Internet access.

Or I have to find a way to get up every day at 4 am.


Photo Credit Used under a CC license
Photo Credit  Used under a CC license

I wrote this a few weeks ago, waiting for the tectonic shifts in my personal life to occur. They have, and it’s ok. I like the new thing.

*      *      *

I am on the verge of some unsettling changes that will be evolving over the next few weeks.

On the negative side of the balance sheet?

  • The unknown– how will I know I’ll like the new thing until I’m in it, and what if I don’t like it once I am there?
  • The cost (in time, actual money, and stress) to other people (a.k.a. “Who the hell am I make decisions that have an impact on other people?)
  • The self-doubt– maybe I’m an idiot to make significant lifestyle changes for no reason other than  . . . (tho’ truth be told in the current sitch I have felt like I’m drowning in obligations). I freely acknowledge this is more about me than about my situation. My friend Nancy recently told me that one of the reasons she lives alone is that when there are other people around she can’t help ‘scanning’ them all the time– taking their emotional temperature to see if there is something that they want or need.  To be clear, no one is typically asking for that. That doesn’t matter. It’s an automatic unconscious reflex. The nesting set of cultural, cognitive, and affective imperatives that make something like this possible, and indeed, inevitable– is a much bigger blog post. Indeed, it’s likely a very large book. Suffice it to say that Nancy’s comment resonated for me.

On the plus side of the balance sheet?

  • More time alone (which is good for my mental health)
  • More time alone (which is good for Getting Things Done)
  • More time (for self-care; as in with fewer responsibilities to others, I won’t have to pencil “shave my legs” into my day planner. I imagine looking at my shins, deciding they need to be shaved, and having the freedom to go do that. . . without scanning the room first).


On not being normal at dinner

Photo Credit  Used under a CC license
Photo Credit Used under a CC license

“It is very painful, I think, to be told: ‘You enchanted the world for me, you made me feel things I never knew I could, now please be normal at dinner.’ We are always saying this to people in one way or another, of course; maybe we have to.”

– Brian Phillips, “Run to the Devil: The Ghosts and Grace of Nina Simone

I’m calling bullshit on this. There is no “have to”.  You don’t have to. You just think you have to.  Please stop.

NWW Photo Prompt~Dimples



The dimples near the end of her spine drew his eye. He noticed the scar nearby—a surgical incision, surely. She felt his eyes on her, and drew her robe up and over her shoulders. She glanced at him, hostile, frowning. His face flamed and he shuffled to the side so his easel hid him. He studied his hands, knotted with work and years, holding a piece of charcoal.