Art of Writing Part IV: When to Write
In our last three post of this series we looked at why you should write, how to write well, and even what to write about. Today we will be discussing when to write. Although the answer is not completely definite, some times are simply more conductive to writing than others.
It goes without saying that you should write whenever you are inspired. After all, inspiration is fleeting enough, why would we let it slip by when we could turn it into something tangible? You don’t have to write a book whenever a thought pops into your head, but it may be wise to jot down any particularly profound thoughts that wander into your brain.
Personally, this is something that I need to work on. I don’t carry a notepad with me, and I have allowed countless ideas to slip out of my grasp simply because I was to apathetic to write them down. Don’t be like me. Capture inspiration when it is available.
Not only should we be careful to not let opportunities slip by, we should become resolute to write on a regular basis. I know you have school, or work, or kids, or countless other things to do, but if you ever want to be a writer, you really ought to write every now and then. That is right, writers don’t become writers by not writing. Profound, eh?
Some people really don’t like structure or scheduling, but we need it in order to be productive. If you don’t want to keep putting your writing off, you really should pick a specific time to write. I write in the mornings. My mind is clearer, I have less distractions, and I have a fresh perspective earlier in the day.
On the other hand, I am more creative at night. Almost all of my truly creative ideas have been dreamt up around midnight. It is for this reason that I largely do my non-fictional writing early in the day and my fictional stuff late at night.
Although I may be very rational and capable of performing highly complex logical functions during the morning, as I grow more and more tired, my brain becomes less and less rational and more and more creative. I cannot do mathematics at night. I can, however, write fiction, draw pictures, or come up with song lyrics much more easily later in the day.
In fact, studies have shown that you are most creative at your non-optimal time of day. If you are a night owl, you may just be more creative in the morning, but if you are a morning person, you may be more creative at night.
This all leads me to believe that there is no real universal time of day when everyone works best. Some people will be more analytical in the morning, some at night. Furthermore, this leads me to believe that there can be times of day where we are best at doing analytical work, and other times where we are better at thinking outside of the box, being creative.
Are you most analytical in the morning? Are you most creative at night? Or are you most analytical at night and creative in the morning? Whatever you may be, when you should write will ultimately depend upon your particular answer to those questions.
We should not allow inspiration to pass us by, and although there may be no perfect time for writing, depending on what type of person you are, there are times when you will be better at writing. The key, however, is to actually write.
I get that other things may seem to be more important right now, but if you want to become a writer you must write. Words do not magically arrange themselves into books. No, it is us that must write them down, and it is us that must stop putting the pursuit of our passions on hold. It is simple really. Just write.