Why do I bring this up? Because the time at which you sit down and put pen to paper (in a manner of speaking) can drastically determine your output.
I’m a night owl when it comes to writing. True, you can find me on the packed commuter trains of Japan, furiously tapping away on my phone as I head to work. But the bulk of what I do comes when I get home, and the sun has long set. I simply prefer the setting of nighttime as a more atmospheric and stimulating time to write: darkness let’s our imaginations fill in the gaps, which is exactly what we need. That, and mornings are, well…mornings. And though I’m getting better at them, I am never going to call myself a morning person, I think. At least, not until I’m an old man. Then I’ll be waking up at 5:00am each day, apparently.
And yet, I can totally see things from the other side. Simply put, science says that we are at our most creative and focused in the morning, even if we don’t feel like it. And I will admit that it makes sense to a degree: as I sit here writing this, I have very few other things on my mind. If you write in the evening, you run the risk of having your willpower drained by your daily tasks. And that counts for physical and mental draining: even if arrive back home in the evening after work, there is no doubt that your mind has been pulled and stretched in multiple directions that morning, and you lose that blank slate of focus that the new morning offered. I’ll admit that this is true to myself as well: when I write on the train, the journey to work usually yields more output than the return journey. Not always, but most of the time.
And yet, that lack of focus the night brings can be a good thing. Think about it: focus is all well and good, and yet focus is by its very nature a narrow-minded sort of thing. Creative, yes, but sometimes having that blank slate sullied by long and eventful day can be a good thing. Studies have also shown that night owl writers are able to approach new ideas and problems from multiple angles and see things holistically, presumably because those problem-solving skills have been thoroughly exercised throughout the day.
Whether you’re a morning lark or a night owl in your writing, though, I don’t think it matters that much so long as you are consistent and frequent. There are countless examples of famous authors out there who had all of their day’s writing finished by the afternoon, and countless examples of authors who didn’t start until the afternoon. But what they both have in common is consistency. Making a habit of it at the same time daily encourages your brain to expect it. You know how you often wake up two minutes before your morning alarm goes off because your body expects to be woken up by then? This is the same thing. Get to the point where your system is expecting you to write. You’ll notice when you’ve got there, because when you neglect to write for a single day you will feel VERY weird and guilty.
Good morning to you all! Now for a cup to tea!