Write Time of Day

squared circles - Clocks
Image by Leo Reynolds via Flickr

There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.
Ernest Hemingway

Writing is the hardest work in the world not involving heavy lifting.
Pete Hamill

“I put a piece of paper under my pillow, and when I could not sleep I wrote in the dark.” Henry David Thoreau

“I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.”Oscar Wilde

“Nighttime is really the best time to work. All the ideas are there to be yours because everyone else is asleep.”
Catherine O’Hara

“At night, when the objective world has slunk back into its cavern and left dreamers to their own, there come inspirations and capabilities impossible at any less magical and quiet hour. No one knows whether or not he is a writer unless he has tried writing at night.”
H. P. Lovecraft

If you are a writer you locate yourself behind a wall of silence and no matter what you are doing, driving a car or walking or doing housework you can still be writing, because you have that space.

Joyce Carol Oates quotes

“I write when I’m inspired and I see to it that I am inspired at nine o’clock every morning.”      Peter de Vries

When I was a poor and struggling writer, I made a vow that if ever I got lucky enough to write full-time, I would never again write at night or on weekends, and I never do. I work from about 10 a.m. to 5 or 6 at night, and then I lock the door to my office and go home to my wife.” – Evan Hunter

What is the right time of day to write?

Or put another way: What is your Write time of day?

I think this is a question that is unique to the individual writer. Some people work best in the early morning. The common term for these people are early morning birds. I am however, not one of these people. I find that the mornings are when my brain is foggiest and most resistant to all thought let alone creative inspiration. I am always envious of these so-called morning people. I am amazed that they can write before the sun even rises. Unfortunately I have never been able to do this.

I have tried to discipline myself into writing in the mornings. I have been doing The Morning Pages on and off for 2 years now. This is a method described by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. The idea is that you write 2 longhand A4 pages of writing first thing in the morning after you have woken up. Has this method worked for me? Yes and No. Yes, in that I am surprised that I can even think let alone write legibly in the morning. But No it has not made me form a habit of writing in the morning.

So why fight what your body is naturally inclined to? I am sure you have heard of the body’s internal clock. Everyone has one. Some may need new batteries but believe me, you have one. This internal clock is known as the Circadian Rhythm. It is also true that there are two main types of individual:

The Early Morning Bird or Lark


The Night Owl

For me I fall into the Night Owl category. I think part of it is that I like being awake and seem to think more clearly when everyone else is asleep. Another reason why I am a Night Owl is simply because the morning and day offer too many distractions. Birds are singing, cars are driving, people are talking. For the same reason, some people are morning larks. They get up at 5am before the sun rises and write until dawn. I understand the theory behind this but at 5am my brain, even if I happen to be awake, is sluggish at best and at sleep at worst.

There are numerous articles online about whether morning larks or night owls or more productive. Again I think this is mainly subjective and wrapped up with what works best for you. In the morning I am least productive in all areas. I usually need at least 1/2 a litre of coffee to wake up my mental system.

So why fight your nature?

There is no Write Time of day definitively speaking. There is only a Write time of Day for you as an individual. Don’t think you are less productive if you are a night owl. This is just simply how your body and brain function. For me writing at night is the Write Time of Day for me because it is also when I have the most time. During the day I have far too many distractions to be able to focus on my writing.

The most important element of writing is writing at the same time every day. Why is this so important? If you treat writing as a hobby and only write when you want to or feel most inspired, then you will find every excuse to not write. If you write every day at the same time, you are making a scheduled appointment with your imagination. There is also the added theory that if you do something every day for 28 days, you will form a habit. Whether you are writing full-time or whether you write part-time, it is vital that you treat writing like any other job. Give it the same importance as a 9-5 day at an office.

If you are serious about your writing, you need to get serious about your writing time.

So what is your best writing time?

Are you a morning lark or a night owl?


© All rights reserved Kim Koning.


9 thoughts on “Write Time of Day

  1. I am an early morning bird and usually wake around 4 am to start the day 🙂 My 4 dogs insist on this hour as breakfast time so although I can re-train them, I enjoy the early morning peace. I find myself jotting down notes all during the day about subjects to write or projects to try. Morning!! Debbie 🙂

    1. 4am!!!! You are a far braver soul than me….I am in dreamland at that time, unless I have pulled an all-nighter writing stint, then I am usually going to bed at that time.

  2. I’m a night owl even though I love those occasions when I can start my writing much earlier in the day. I get more accomplished that way…
    I’m definitely a quotes junkie and get a great kick when I read one I haven’t seen anywhere else. They cover a lot of ground. 🙂
    Eliz aka Elizabeth ( will be going back to the short form)

  3. I have to admit, the quotes section for me made for very good reading.

    For me personally, I can relate to some the above quotes. Whilst I was studying for my degree, I’d write, design, edit etc all at night, normally between 11pm and 5am — which wreaked havoc with my sleep pattern, but I was able to produce some really good work. I used to look forward to getting into the mindset and headspace. My room would often only be lit by the light coming from my computer screen and the glow of my iPod screen.

    I found that some of my favourite music from the daytime seemed ill-fitting for my night-time sessions and vice versa. Some of them just improved greatly at night. I’ll never forget the nights I spent plodding away on my dissertations/essays listening to Brian Eno.

    Laying in bed until the small hours, photoshopping artwork for video projects or portfolios, often going to sleep to the sound of birdsong, getting maybe 3 hours sleep if I had morning lectures, or a few more if I had afternoon are still some of my favourite memories of university. It was just the idea of shutting myself off from the world, indulging in music and working on something creative. It really felt right.

Talk to me...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s