Good MORNING! Good Writing!

There is a theory that the brain is more creative in the morning, especially in your waking moments. For this reason, many writers keep their notepad by their beds and make sure that the very first thing they do when they open their eyes each morning, is write. The resultant notes are called “morning pages”. I’v e only very recently become a fan of this morning exercise but I’m finding it fruitful. I don’t believe it would have worked for me ten years ago when I didn’t ‘do’ mornings, at all, ever. Now, I’m 41. I do mornings and I do them well.

 

Anyway, enough about my aging. Morning pages might contain what a writer remembers of their dreams or perhaps the writer will simply jot down the very first words that come to mind that day. Some writers say that this exercise helps them ‘slip’ more easily into what writers’ call the “writing rapture” when a writer feels ideas are pouring into their mind. When writers write in the morning, so the theory goes, they are closer to their sleeping state and the mind is more imaginative and/or receptive to ideas.

 

Having said that, there are plenty of writers who write late at night – for the same reason that they say the closer to sleep they are, the more creative their ideas. Then there are other writers who find their most productive hours are in the middle of the day (the Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling is a good example. She wrote her first book in a busy Edinburgh café).

 

Different times of the day work for different people and it is really of no consequence whether you are a morning, day or night writer. What is important is that you write and that you find your ideal writing time. Experiment. Find what works for you and then set an hour aside each day at that time and write.

 

Likewise, writers have very personal tastes regarding an environment conducive to writing. There are those who like music or TV buzz in the background and those who can only write in silence. Find whatever works for you.

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About suehealy

Award-winning Irish writer/playwright Sue Healy’s work has been supported and developed by Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, the Peggy Ramsay Foundation and Arts Council England. Her full-length stage plays include Cow (Etcetera Theatre, 2017) and Brazen (King’s Head Theatre, 2016), funded by Arts Council England. Sue’s work has also been performed at the Finborough, Arcola, Hackney Attic and Sterts theatres, and at festivals including the Claremorris Fringe (New Writing Award winner), the Brighton (Sussex Playwrights’ Award winner), the UEA Contemporary European Drama Festival, Norwich. December 2017 will see her work showcased at the Criterion theatre in London. Radio work includes nine plays broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (Opening Lines winner), WLRfm and KCLR96fm. She has been a finalist for BBC Scriptroom 12, Eamon Keane Playwriting Prize, Nick Darke Award and the Old Vic 12 New Voices. Sue's prose has won the the Molly Keane Award, HISSAC Prize, Escalator Award and has been published widely. Sue has been writer-in-residence on Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, and at the Heinrich Boll Cottage on Achill Island. She has also benefitted from juried artist residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and at Ginestrelle, Assisi in Italy. Sue is a UEA Creative Writing MA alumna. She spent eleven years in Budapest, editing Hungary A.M. She is currently London-based, completing a Ph.D. on the Royal Court Theatre. Sue is an Associate Lecturer in Playwriting at the Universities of Lincoln and Portsmouth, and tutors Creative Writing at City Lit. She is Literary Manager at the Finborough Theatre. View all posts by suehealy

8 responses to “Good MORNING! Good Writing!

  • wide open spaces

    This is soooo true. I’m definitely a morning writer, and if I don’t make myself write in the morning, I can pretty much forget writing for the day. The rare exception is when I have a great moment of inspiration. Then, I have to make sure I get to a computer fast, no matter what time of the day it is, so I can start typing.

    • suehealy

      Hi Elizabeth, I have to admit I’m pretty new to morning writing. I used to consider myself solely a bird of the night – and in many ways night is just as close to the dream time. However, I think due to my current job (teaching Creative Writing to prisoners) which means an early start ergo an early night – I wasn’t getting anything done in the evenings… so I gave an early rise a try and have found it to be reallly productive thus far. Happy to join the morning flock, therefore, if you’ll have me.

  • Karla Mouncey-Jaggers

    This is such an interesting topic! I think I am all over the place with my writing! If I have a set goal or idea I need to write I usually do it as soon as I wake up. But for spontaneous ideas or when I get the fresh urge to write I find it comes after a busy day. Very though-provoking!!

    • suehealy

      Hi Karla, Thanks for your thoughts and comment. I’m glad my post has given you something to think about. I feel people have their own individual ‘creative hour/s’. And for many, I think this time may be the morning. I also believe that your most creative hours when you are twenty, will not be the same when you are forty. Moreover, you can work quite well during your ‘non-creative’ hours, by editing, reading, drafting letters to agents, researching competitions etc… But it is good to know what hours the muse it most likely to visit. For me, these days, it seems to be the morning. I agree with you regarding the ideas coming to you randomly during the day – when someone makes a remark or something snags your eye and it’s magical when this occurs – but, generally, I get most inspiration (and most done) in the morning these days.

  • Brian Looney

    Never heard it so clearly defined. Haha, my writing routine asserted itself almost unconsciously. But you are absolutely right. Writing in the morning will get those juices flowing. We’re always searching for that sacred “writer’s rapture.” Best feeling on the planet. Your open-mindedness is refreshing.

    -Brian

    • suehealy

      Thanks, Brian. Glad you liked the post. You’re right, the writer’s ‘rapture’ is sacred. I guess that why it doesn’t visit so often… those sacred things can be a bit standoffish : ) but they come around eventually…

  • Maggie

    Hi, Sue. Have you read Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way?” In it she describes the artist’s (writers, visual artists, musicians, all types) journey, and she recommends “morning pages” among other exercises. You keep a notebook, and in it write every single morning, no matter what pops into your mind. (I can’t remember whether it was for a particular number of pages or period of time.) Sometimes for me it was very stream of consciousness, and other times quite focused. This was an eye-opening book, and I recommend it. It’s a 12-week “program,” if you will, and a friend who is a painter/art teacher and I did it together. What fun! Thank you for subscribing to my blog. I am going to subscribe to yours as well. I like the active way you stay in touch with your readers. Happy to find another vigorous writer.

    • suehealy

      Hi Maggie, thank you for commenting! I haven’t actually read the ‘Artist’s Way’ but I have heard of it and a few of the tips I’ve picked up for writing I think have come to me indirectly from people who have read the book. It’s been on my ‘to read’ list for ages but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Thanks for reminding me about it! I am rather addicted to writing – so I can’t be anything but active on a blog : ) Many thanks for your input – I’m also happy to be in touch with a vigorous writer.

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