March 26, 2014
On Your Time
Evening on the Danube, Budapest.
It is said that the closer the brain is to the sleeping state, the more creative it is. 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”. 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 “rapture” when a writer feels ideas are pouring into their mind from elsewhere.
Just as the waking moments are a bridge from the sleeping state into sober reality – the hour before you go to bed is often a creative time with the brain slipping into that semi conscious state. Hence there are plenty of writers who write late at night.
And just to show that there are no rules, there are other writers who find their most productive hours are in the middle of the day when all of life’s busyness is in full swing (the Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling is a good example. She wrote her first book in a busy Edinburgh café).
So, I guess the point is that 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.g
From Ireland, Sue Healy is Literary Manager at the Finborough Theatre, London, a full-time Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Lincoln. Her book on theatre literary management is published by Routledge, December 2022.
Sue is an award-winning writer for stage, TV, and prose writer.
Her current project, a 6x60minute TV series, is under option. She is under commission with Lone Wolf Media, producers behind PBS’ “Mercy Street”, to co-write the pilot and treatment for a six-part TV series.
Her most recent stage-play, Imaginationship (2018), enjoyed a sold out, extended run at the Finborough and later showed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. Her previous stage productions include Cow (Etcetera Theatre, 2017) and Brazen (King’s Head Theatre, 2016), funded by Arts Council England. Sue’s short plays have been performed at the Criterion (Criterion New Writing Showcase), Arcola (The Miniaturists) and Hackney Attic (Fizzy Sherbet Shorts).
Her radio work includes nine plays broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (Opening Lines winner), WLRfm and KCLR96fm.
Sue has won The Molly Keane Award, HISSAC Prize, Escalator Award, Meridian Prize and has been published in nine literary journals and anthologies including: The Moth, Flight, Tainted Innocence, New Writer, Duality, HISSAC, New European Writers. She has been writer-in-residence on Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, and at the Heinrich Boll Cottage on Achill Island. She has also benefitted from annual artist residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and at Ginestrelle, Assisi in Italy.
An academic with a PhD in modern theatre history, specifically the Royal Court Theatre, Sue has presented her research internationally. She spent eleven years in Budapest, editing Hungary A.M. She has a PhD in modern theatre history (Royal Court Theatre) and is a UEA Creative Writing MA alumnus.
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March 12th, 2012 at 19:08
Interesting post! I find I write at different times of the day, depending upon what kind of book it is and what stage I’m at with the writing. I’ve blogged about morning pages here http://jenalexanderbooks.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/daily-pages-vs-dreams/?preview=true&preview_id=343&preview_nonce=dcc288be04
March 12th, 2012 at 19:44
I think half the job is figuring out your own best time isn’t it? I’m still looking…
March 12th, 2012 at 23:05
Yay mornings! Definitely my favorite and most creative time to write. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever written a first draft that wasn’t between waking up (usually 6 a.m.) till around 11:00 a.m. when exhaustion and hunger kick in.
I suppose I’m a morning person too 😀
March 12th, 2012 at 23:37
I can pretty much write at any time, but, I have to have silence lol….I get so easily distracted lol
March 13th, 2012 at 10:12
I often write best late evening/early night, before I go bed. The good thing about that is, I can get to sleep better afterwards 😛
March 13th, 2012 at 15:24
Interesting, espcially about the semi dream states. I prefer to write from mid afternoon till about ten at night, and I have to have silence in the background.
March 13th, 2012 at 19:20
I love what you share. It’s always a little jewel. I like writing in the morning up till lunch. I then read for an hour then peek at what I penned earlier before I call it a day.
March 13th, 2012 at 19:47
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March 14th, 2012 at 03:09
What I write at night seldom makes sense. My morning output is better.
March 14th, 2012 at 07:25
Glad to hear that I’m not the only bedside scibbler. I often wake up with a line of dialogue in my head and, very occasionally, a whole plot line. If I have a sleepless night I turn my thoughts to my writing – it stops me worrying about the bills and usually sends me off to sleep!
March 15th, 2012 at 09:22
Night writing definitely feels the most natural because when you’re in that half-asleep state it’s much much easier to slip into a secondary reality and interact with your ideas.
Personally I try to write during the evening when I’ve absorbed the day’s energy and I’m at my mental peak.
March 16th, 2012 at 18:30
More than once I have leapt from bed to write down some notion before I lost it. I almost lost the title for a book project and thankfully it came back the next day (and I wrote it down in several places.)
March 28th, 2014 at 18:24
I write pretty well anytime, but especially if I get mad. Then I say it all in music.