The Moon Calls me | No point fighting it

Call me Nokomis

Nokomis is the daughter that fell from the Moon in the Ojibwe legends. I don’t know what is about the allure of the night sky and the moon & stars that holds me enthralled. But for as long as I have known, I have been a child of the night. I come alive and my energy becomes reanimated just as the sun starts waning in that magical part of the day called Dusk.

For the past few months I have been trying to retrain my clock into working creatively in the morning. It has not worked. Instead whenever the alarm goes off in the morning I wake up resentful and definitely without any creative inclination. I do practice my Morning Pages but my brain still feels asleep. I also find that I tend to procrastinate when I write – or should that be attempt to – in the mornings.

So in the past few weeks I have decided there is just no fighting genetic disposition. I am a night owl. I do not understand morning larks and have no desire to. When I hear someone tell me they are able to get up at 5am and work, my mouth drops open and I wonder how??? Likewise I know that morning larks in my own circle think me totally barking-mad to be able to work at 2am in the morning.

No…I am a daughter of the moon and the night sky. There is no point in even trying to go to bed early to wake earlier because invariably my muse drags me out of dreamland at 3am every morning without fail. Between 12am and 2am is when I get most of my inspiration.  I have tried changing this but not even sleeping tablets quietens my imagination in the early hours of the morning/late hours of night.

There is something mystical and magical about the night. The air holds a pensive aura of anticipation. Creatures with bright eyes come out to hunt or play. The night has an air of possibility that is ripe for imagination. It is possible to believe that everything and anything can exist at night. That is what stirs my imagination when the sky is dark and the stars are bright. It is as if a deeper part of my brain is awakened at night. 

Perhaps it is because everyone else is usually asleep at this time of night and there are fewer distractions. Perhaps it is a strange magic of the moon’s influence. But there is definitely something that awakens the creativity in me in the middle of the night. Perhaps this is also why I am drawn to writing in the genre / style that I do. My style of writing is definitely darker and I am drawn to the surreal. Perhaps this is also determined by one’s natural body clock. It is an interesting concept. One that I will have to ponder on some more.

Have you ever tried actively changing yourself from a night owl into a morning lark or vice versa?

Many psychologists believe that you are either a night owl or morning lark and that this is determined by your natural circadian rhythms or internal body clock. So apparently though you may be able to retrain your system, if you choose a complete opposite you will find your life to be more stressful.

Identify your internal body clock via Psychology Today. Interestingly enough, I took this test and scored an 8 which makes me a very definite owl.

So I am proudly standing up for the rights of Night Owls everywhere. No point in fighting your inherent nature. I will answer the call of the moon. My muse and characters should be happy with that.

What’s your best time of day for creativity?

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

and

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.


 


Rhythm. Space. Timing. Serendipity.

Blur
Missed Moment
Perfect Rhythm: Space. Timing. Serendipity.

Today’s Photo of the day was the 3rd in this series of 3. With the assistance of my creative assistant, Jazz (my Papillon Puppy), I managed to finally capture the shot I wanted. This series of shots got me thinking about today’s Thursday Tips post.

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RHYTHM. SPACE. TIMING. SERENDIPITY.

 

A story is composed of many parts just as a photograph is composed of many elements. For a photograph you need a subject, a tool (camera), a placing in space, rhythm and perfect timing. For a story you need a plot, characters, a tool (imagination), a setting, rhythm and perfect timing.

So today’s Thursday tips is focused on: Rhythm, Space, Timing and Serendipity. What do I mean by “Rhythm”? There are 2 types of rhythm that I am thinking of: Musical Rhythm and Poetic Rhythm.

Musical Rhythm

Noun: A strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound.

Now you may argue that you do not have an ear for music. You do not realise that your own body has a perfect musical rhythm of its own: Heart beats. Yes. Heart Beats. Now close your eyes, place your finger at your pulse point and listen to the rhythm as you feel the drum beat of your life’s blood flowing through your body. Now if your heart’s rhythm was slightly off, too quick or too slow or skipping a beat, there would be a problem with the way your body functioned. This problem could even be fatal in the worst case scenario. In the same way, this can be an allegory for the importance of having cadence and rhythm in the construction of your story. If one word is not placed in the right space on your page the beat will be off.

Poetic Rhythm

Noun: a regularly recurring sequence of events, actions,

or processes : the measured flow of words and phrases

in verse or prose as determined by the relation of long

and short or stressed and unstressed syllables.

You may think you know nothing about poetry but if you were a child at some stage, you will know all about poetic rhythm. I am talking about the wonder and simplicity of Nursery Rhymes. Now I am sure if I ask you to close your eyes for a moment and think of a nursery rhyme from your childhood you will be able to come up with more than a handful. So why is this poetic rhythm so vital to your story? It is vital for the same reason that it took you less than a minute to recall more than a handful of nursery rhymes. Rhythm is strongly intertwined with memory. If something has a catchy rhythm, it tends to be locked in the vaults of your memory bank. But the connection and resonance of the “Rhythm” allows you to re-access this vault at a moment’s notice. So I ask you, what is common to successful stories throughout the ages? They are a perfect synchronicity of musical rhythm and poetic rhythm. The sentences have a resonant beat to them and they flow easily through your mind. The words are perfectly placed and sequenced. The sentences are sharp and neat. The punctuation is perfectly placed, accenting and pausing through the rhyme of the words on a page.

Space and Timing

The other two vital elements to a perfect story is setting (space) and timing. A setting can make or break the story. At times a setting can make or break a genre. Setting is an oft-forgotten but vital element in a successful story. Just as space and setting is vital to the perfect camera shot, setting is not something to be overlooked. So if you have found yourself concentrating too much on plot and character remember to include setting in your focus. After all, your characters need “Somewhere” to have a story. They cannot be in a Vacuum throughout the whole story.

Now I come to one of my favourite elements in a story: Timing. There are two types of timing in a story. The first is the Story’s sequence of events and the second is the timing in the placing of chapters, paragraphs, openings and endings. The timing of events in a sequence will make your story a well-loved hit with your readers or on the other hand the incorrect timing in sequence can alter the story at best and confuse / lose your reader at the worst. You cannot rush the sequence in your plot and you cannot go too slowly. You need to use the second type of timing I spoke of to set the correct sequence. At the same time, you cannot spend an uneven amount of time on any element of your plot. Too quick an opening may leave the reader floundering for a life raft but be too tired in the end to bother. Too slow an opening could bore your reader. Even though you may have put your best part of the story in the middle of your plot, the reader needs to still get there so time your story with care. Don’t rush your plot too quickly that you lose your reader and that your story becomes a blur in their mind. Don’t slow your plot too much or your reader will miss the suspense of the moment. Don’t rush your characters through their dialogue or accelerate their development – your reader will find them unrealistic and have no connection to the story. Don’t go too slow with your characters as by the time you have got your character to the next day, your reader will probably have fallen asleep.

Serendipity is the tie of these 3 elements: Rhythm, Space (Setting) and Timing. I love the word “Serendipity”:

Serendipity ~ the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way….

Isn’t this the perfect way to describe a story that will imprint itself on your reader’s memories?

I leave you with my Poem for the day inspired by my photograph..

Flying Free on the Wings of Time


If you rush through Life,

Moments will pass by in a blur;

If you take things too slowly,

You will miss the Moments.

Like a Photograph

Life is all about being in the Moment:

Perfect Rhythm of Space. Timing. Serendipity.

~ Kim Koning ~


© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning