Saturday, March 5, 2011

When Do You Write?


I always think I should write at night after a long day of events. I turn on my laptop and think and think and think…usually, nothing happens. I can’t grasp onto a topic that inspires me. I am blocked before I even press a key on my keyboard.

Early each morning with a hot cup of coffee in hand, my results are very different. There are all kinds of topics that come to mind. I bounce like a ping pong ball between them trying to select which topic suits me best for this day.

Why is it this way? I don’t really know but I have been aware of this for years as  I have worked my way through two graduate programs and written almost all of my papers between the hours of 4:00 AM and 7:00 AM. I believe the way I am wired…my brain needs to mull things over for a night. It chooses what is important and what is not and I am usually left with plenty to choose from but not overwhelmed. My brain works like a good administrative assistant, only bringing to my attention things of importance and scuttling away those things that are not worth spending time on.

So here I sit, explaining to you, how a list of writing topics are beginning to align in my head for future use. I am fresh with thoughts and clarity after a long night of sleep and a little java to give me a jumpstart. I wonder if that is how the phrase “sleep on it” came to be?


  1. Morning Wanda,
    Funny, as I read your post, I'm remembering college life. I could never write or work late at night and into the next day. I needed to sleep but the morning was fresh and alive for me to work.
    Now older and without the full time grind I relish that early morning time like you to write in quiet and the newness of the day. There are times when I have to write at the end of the day, but it's never my best or favorite time.

  2. Good morning, Wanda...
    Yes, morning, with my coffee. There's a different clarity in the morning! I had your same thoughts though. I thought I should write after the day, so I'd have something to write about. But there's soooo much clutter there. Like those magnetic word puzzles all strewn about and you have to put them in some order to make a sentence but you can't find "your words". Have a nice day!

  3. Good Morning Wanda,
    Yep--morning is the time. At night, it seems like my brain just shuts down to prepare for the next day. I can't even grade papers at night. Just doesn't work. And D Smith--great line about the magnetic word puzzles--that says it exactly!

  4. I am a morning writer too. The house is quiet- no teenagers bouncing balls, or banging rap music. My head is clear- no could of, would of should of's from the day before. And my heart is open. That's when the good stuff comes!

  5. Well, I seem to be the evening writer in this mix. My life is never dull so I always seem to have a story by the end of the day. I fear that if I write too early, I may miss an even more memorable moment. I do, however, have my java close at hand too. Thank you for the great post.

  6. Evening. That's when I have more time to myself...and it's quiet.

  7. Wanda,

    Such a thought provoking post and all the responses as well. I should probably settle down earlier at night and try to do more in the morning. My problem is I try to burn the candle at both ends and that leaves me feeling burn out at night. Writing, dozing off, correcting papers, dozing off...and so on. Happy writing! ~Theresa

  8. I tend to be a late night writer. Ideas swirl in my head all day but stress layers on it at night. I think I should try to settle in to write earlier! Thanks for your helpful thoughts!

  9. Morning, after school, before and after dinner, way too late into the night - it just depends on what is calling out from inside me. But I think mornings are my favorite!

  10. Wanda,
    Your post is important from a number of perspectives. It reminds me of the habits we share as writers. It also highlights the challenges we face. All that rehearsal and sorting out that goes on in our heads long before a single word emerges. Your post also alerts me to the fact that we individuals we differ in our processes and reactions. That;s what makes this such a valuable piece for me.
    Thanks for letting us into your head space...

  11. My best writing is in the morning. . . my most emotional at night. And somehow, I still find myself writing mostly at night. I just don't share it with the public. :)

  12. Dear Wanda,
    It is always fascinating to read how authors write, their habits and process. It is the time for letting important things to emerge that matters a lot. For many it is the night time, so writing time is in the morning. For me it is the car or train ride home when writing ideas take shape, so I write as soon as I get home. Sometimes thoughts surface in the middle of the night, I jot down key words, and then write when I have time. Mornings are usually to busy and hectic. Only occasionally on the weekends, when the kids are with their granny, I get to enjoy the luxury of morning writing.
    Thank you for the question. I liked reading the different responses.

  13. Wanda I can really connect with this post. I too have a sense of morning inspiration.

  14. I'm a 4:00 AM girl too! My husband thinks I am crazy. He is forever asking why I get up so early. I can't seem to help it. :)