We’ve talked about where people write, but reader Roberto Soto was the first to pose this one: when do you write?
Are you like Jeff Abbott in the early days, getting up at 4am with a little suspense writing to start your day?
Or do you write when the inspiration strikes?
Lots of people have asked me this question since last Thursday, and let me just say that while being an agent is indeed a hectic profession I know for a fact I am not nearly as busy as some of the people who read this blog (for one, I don’t have kids). And as those of you who are insanely busy know, there’s always time to write. You might just need to force yourself to write during the times when every atom in your body would rather be doing something else.
What about you?
Coming late to the party but this topic has inspired me to de-lurk.
I write whenever I can. For ten years, first when I was single, then when I was married but childless, I told myself that I was too busy to write. I was a lawyer at a large law firm during that time.
Now, suddenly, with a just turned two year old and an almost four year old AND having started my own law firm with my ridiculously supportive husband, I suddenly, finally, am writing.
The time crunch means that I do it whenever and wherever I can–late, late at night. Very early in the morning. Every time in between. I write standing at the kitchen island while the boys eat breakfast. On the laptop in the kids' bathroom while they are in the bathtub. Or in the office in between billable matters.
It's frustrating but invigorating.
I own a ghostwriting business so Friday's are for my beloved Fiction writing work in progress. I call them Fiction Fridays and the entire day is devoted to writing all of the ideas that have come to me throughout the week.
I write when opportunity presents itself. If I wake up with a great idea, I rush to get it down before the day's activities need to be started. If I have an epiphany while out to lunch with a friend, I am lucky enough to find the closest napkin for my itching pencil. Volunteering brings the best ideas. Few words from complete strangers can inspire half a book. I can't stop when with them, but whatever I remember gets jotted down later that night.
Night is when I do most of my real writing. Even on my one day off when the kids are at school and there are no volunteer shifts scheduled, I find my head only working at half capacity, the ideas not really flowing until the sun has set and the wildlife beyond the front door silenced.
My quiet imagination enjoys the solitude as it easily captures the shy worlds that stay away from the day's hustle and bustle. Honestly I wonder if even without the loud birds if I could find these precious doorways during their school hours. And by reading many of your comments, I think these worlds prefer the cloak of night to show themselves.
Fiona Rose says
I write when it's slow at work, in the bathroom, on my days off, when I wake up in the middle of the night. Before I graduated, I used to write in class a lot. I have found ideas written down on everything from old class notes to post-its to slips of register paper in pockets of dirty laundry.
If I could live the way I wanted to live, then midnight to 3 am would be my choice of writing time–just because the world feels at its most magical then. However! Office hours don't permit that so, after hearing Eric Maisel at RWA last year, I decided to try his suggestion of writing first thing in the morning, before reality intrudes. I find it works. On weekends I can turn the coffee machine on and stay on a roll; on weekdays I get out of the house ASAP, hit the coffee shop and get in an hour's writing before work. It also helps me to get me through the day, having done something of meaning before the corporate world invades. It also makes me a much nicer person.
Congratulations on your sale!
About about a month ago I had an idea for a project that left me desperate to write it. So I started creating the world, the characters and their needs, ect. I finished the outline about a week ago. Today is the day I start the first scene. My writing goal is to get at least 500 words per day, taking the weekends off. I should have a finished rough draft by January. I will be writing late at night. That is when I have no distractions and also tend to get the best ideas.
Paul Neuhardt says
I write when I can.
I prefer to write first thing in the morning, every day.
I often end up writing in the hour or two just before bed, after the rest of the day's requirements have been met.
I am sometimes fortunate enough to find time during my day to jot notes, or maybe even get a few hundred words on paper. My Moleskine notebook goes everywhere with me, and my laptop goes most places with me, just in case.
Samantha Clark says
I truly believe that, if you're serious about writing — before you're getting paid for it, of course — you have to make the time, not find the time. I used to find the time and my first novel took about five years on and off. I finally finished it, revised it, etc., after making the time.
For the last couple of years, I've been setting my alarm at 5. I try to hit snooze as little as possible, get up, and write til around 7 when my day starts.
Of course, sometimes I procrastinate with a little blog reader first…
Ok, off to write.
And hey, congratulations on your book deal Nathan. Great news!
Genella deGrey says
Any chance I get – and using whatever media is available at that moment.
Cocktail napkins included.
Aspiring Nurse and Writer says
I find my imagination is most active late at night, when the house is quiet, the kiddies are sleeping and my husband is consumed with his three year addiction to World of Warcraft. Sigh. It also depends on the day though. I have resorted to carrying a diary with me everywhere I go; I can be in the middle of learning about gunshot wounds in the middle of the day and be distracted by characters swimming around in my mind.
I posted my 'where I write' thoughts earlier in the week but continued thinking about it — just as I do with my writing. While typing or 'writing' something down is writing, I often 'write in my head', exploring scenes and relationships. My wife can tell when it's happening because I get a blank gaze and became quiet, even when out at a fair, in a bar, shopping, or watching television. Writing is always going on in my head.
First and foremost, thanks for the "What would you do…" idea! I get great comments when I post blogs asking the readers about personal preferences. Also, it gives me a break when I'm mega busy.
Secondly, I hope you still subscribe to your comments. Otherwise, I'm just talking to myself.
Thirdly, (back to being all about me) I can NOT force myself to write. Those that don't want to write but wake up at 4am…well I envy them. I have to wait until I get the urge. Something just "clicks" (hm…I do use quotations for emphasis, interesting. Or maybe its a way to say I'm not sure of a better word?), and I HAVE to write. I write fast and furious until all hours of the night. I generally do it in one or two sittings or for a week. But I can kick out about 20k words in a weekend. It can take a month or two before I feel like it. So for me the writing process can be slow.
However, with that being said, I must add that if I had an enforced deadline (i.e. contract) I'm certain I would make the time. Because time is money and money IS motivation. Therefore money = click. 😀
Purple Clover (Jenn)
R. D. Allen says
I have to wait until the weekends or later at night to write or work on projects, but sometimes I do it about 9am before I start school and stuff. About 7-10pm is the best time for my muse anyway.
Old post. I know. Probably not even going to notice it, but I feel I must share. Personally, I find I can only write between 7 am and 11:59 am. There are of course exceptions to this, but generally once the clock hits 12 I can't write a thing no matter how badly I try to. It's more of a recent habit, though. Last spring I found I could only write in the evenings, about 5-9pm, and then summer came along and I started writing and reading every morning and now I find I can only bring myself to write something or read a book if it's the morning.
A.M Hudson says
As yet, I have never had to force myself to write – it's something I do only too willingly. I spend pretty much all day on my MAC book, either writing, drafting, or editing, (or studying ways to be a better writer).
Mind you, having said that, the most inspiring times for me to write are just after I wake from actually having gone to bed, and not sitting up all night writing, or around the time of a full moon.
Yes, crazy I know – no, I dont think I'm a werewolf, just one of the billions of human beings affected by the rising tides.
So, after sleep, on a full stomach, and around the time of the full moon are my best writing times.
My time's kind of erratic. I like Iron and Wine too!!!! They're awesome.
I think I said something before on this listening to music while writing thing. Honestly, Nathan, I've made a freakin' playlist that goes a long with the sequence of my story:
1. Dominos- The Big Pink
2. Horses- Broken Social Scene
3. You Go On Ahead For A While- Sunset Rubdown
4. Eyes As Candles- Passion Pit
5. Fish- Daniel Johnston
6. Bracket, WI- Bon Iver
7. Heaven and Earth- Blitzen Trapper
8. Bury Me With It- Modest Mouse
9. The Gollow Is God- The Distillers
10. Firelight- Snow Patrol
11. Beef Jerky- Cibo Matto
12. I Wanna Be Your Dog- Iggy Pop and the Stooges
13. Fake Empire- The National
14. For the Captain- Okkervil River
15. Pissing In A River- Patti Smith
16. You Are The Blood- Sufjan Stevens
17. You Are All That I Have- Snow Patrol
18. Devil Town- Daniel Johnston
Laura Drake says
3 am to 5:30 am, every day, including weekends. The cat gets me up, so I might as well work!
Currently working full-time, I try to squeeze in writing every other opportunity I have – the 10 minutes before I drove out of the door in the morning, in-between stirring whatever I'm cooking for dinner, and the 1 to 1.5 hours before I go to bed at night. My best time of writing though is somehow late at night – between 11PM and up to 3AM. If you see a person lurking around the web when the rest of the world is asleep… that's me!