Writing routines come in all shapes and sizes. In amongst this array of differing practices which out there, It’s usual to find one defining feature: do you write in the morning or write by night? It’s a division which truly splits the writing community down the middle. With writers like Ernest Hemingway, who profusely stated that we should write in the morning at first light of the day, and the likes of H.P. Lovecraft suggesting that you’re not a real writer if you don’t find yourself writing in the night. I myself have tried both, and there is definitely a difference.
The truth is that there is no one size fits all with writing. Instead of trying to find the most productive way to go about our work we must find what works for us as individuals. Here are the main differences I discovered between night writing and morning manuscripts.
Writing as a Discipline
Writing in the morning is my own bread and butter, and there’s a very specific reason for this. Waking up early and engaging with my projects every day feels like a discipline, a way I can consistently improve and routinely learn new things. By making writing a discipline I feel more empowered when I finish for the day.
Scientific studies also suggest we are slightly more productive and creative in the mornings, suggesting that it could actually be easier to write in the morning or in fact engage in any discipline like running or yoga, when we engage with them shortly after waking.
A rather poetic way to think about it, and something I like to treasure is this: we are still groggy in the mornings, enveloped by our dreams which have the possibility to linger in our subconscious mind when we wake, beautiful stories and ideas on the tips of our fingers primed and ready for the taking. Our brains have untapped potential and the subconscious mind is a powerful thing, allowing it to influence our work provides us with a magical feeling. Almost as if our work does not come from us but from a place of creativity and imagination we are not even aware of…
Obviously writing is never that easy, but I find in the mornings it is at it’s easiest, at least for me anyway! I’ve found the benefits of writing like this will provide you with a sense of accomplishment at the start of the day, a sense of creativity which only seems prominent in the early hours and more than enough willpower to seize the day… It has only just begun!
Writing as Catharsis
No one should be sleeping on writing by night, just because I write in the mornings does not mean I don’t value those “write by night” sessions. I’ve found that writing by night offers me a completely different experience, and one which is in fact equally as valuable.
Writing late just before bed is cathartic. After a hard day at work or studying more writing might seem like the last thing on your mind but engaging with journaling and expressive writing can be extremely therapeutic. I’m also going to contradict myself immensely here and I hope you will forgive me but the night can be equally as creative a time to write as the morning. During the day we all embark upon multiple experiences, conversations with colleagues or friends, journeys and all manner of valuable, all though they may seem trivial, encounters. These experiences fill us with ideas, real life circumstances that can find it’s way into our writing, instead of dumb conversations with your boss, think of them as inspiration!
As writers and bloggers the world around us should be an exceptional source of imagination. The day can fill us to the brim with creativity ready to be spilled on the page when we return home.
So When is the Best Time to Write?
This post is perhaps a little contradictory. Singing the praises of both sides of the coin is a little confusing, but the point is that as writers we need to find the best time to work for us.
Do you thrive on discipline and routine? Is the daybreak a source of creativity for you? Perhaps morning would be your ideal time to write.
Or, maybe your writing comes from a place of expression, a cathartic form of therapeutic behaviour. If that’s the case then writing by night maybe the best course of action for you.
Let me know what times you write down in the comments. Do you think it really makes a difference to your work or is it all just preference? I’d be very curious to know!