Monday, August 29th, 2011

Are You More Productive During the Day or During the Evening?

Lighted Pen to Write at NightI got to thinking of writing productivity cycles when I got to work this morning.

I left the house at 5:30 a.m. in total darkness.

An hour later, I arrived at work: Pink skies lighting up the day, the sun finally cresting the horizon. Fairly soon, it will be dark when I leave and still dark when I arrive.

Inside, I did a little happy dance: fall means more writing for me. More time at the computer, more time with my butt in the chair, more time with my hands poised above the keyboard…because there are more hours of darkness than light.

(I caught myself thinking this morning: It shouldn’t be so dark in the morning, yet! Doesn’t this normally occur in October or November? I’m a firm believer that a.m. darkness should be accompanied by cool weather, a windy chill, and maybe some dry leaves tumbling by.)

Fall is my favorite season, but I’m never quite prepared for it.

Nonetheless, Iā€™m tickled: not only do I love all those wonderful Fall things to embrace (orange and yellow mums, cool sweater days, crisp evenings on the deck, Halloween!), but I can look forward to putting more words on paper.

It’s not that summer has me playing hooky (though it’s true: I blew off more than a day or two of writing this summer to do something else.)

It’s that I find myself more productive — itchy to write, even — once the sun goes down. And with fall bringing shorter days and longer nights…well, it’s a no-brainer: I’m going to be racking up the word count. (And along with it, more completed projects, I hope.)

I enjoy writing at night. There’s something about the enveloping darkness that allows me to concentrate better.
What about you? Fall: love it or hate it? Do the changing seasons affect your writing? Are you a daytime or nightime writer?

12 comments to Are You More Productive During the Day or During the Evening?

  • Because of interruptions at any season –big example the current hurricane season meant time lost in preparations for it, time during and after when no power for computer, time catching up when power restored–whenever I have a tatter of uninterrupted time at ANY season, I grab it.

    Sometimes it is one a.m. on an insomniac night, sometimes it is five a.m. on an early-waking morning. Sometimes midday if not interrupted. Regardless, there are no days, not even weekends or holidays, that pass without my writing or revising something.

    • Hi Elisavietta ~ Wow! I wish I could say that no days pass without me revising or writing something. (I am GREEN with envy.) I need to try harder.

      Lately around here it’s been feast or famine: not much for many days, and then boom! A good day. Today was a good day: I got the day off work due to a power outage — thanks to Irene — and I managed several thousand words.

  • I do most of my fiction writing at night, mostly out of necessity, since I work full-time. But it’s true that even on my days off, I feel obliged to run errands and do other things during the day while businesses are open. At night, there are fewer distractions. Trouble is, I’m a day person and I get tired early. But trying to write fiction before I left for work would be a disaster. Even if I could get up that early, I would constantly lose track of time and be late. I can’t relax adn create if I have that kind of time pressure hanging over my head. I don’t know how people (including some famous authors) do that!

    • Hi Eileen! I do nearly all my fiction writing at night because I, too, work full time. That makes it really hard on a Saturday morning to get myself in gear! I’m ready for the weekend. (I’m sure you know what that’s like. šŸ™‚ )

      I often wonder if I could get up earlier to write. I’m already up at 5 a.m. (and I am so not a morning person). If I set the clock for 4 a.m. could I actually get any writing done? You make me wonder if I could.

  • I also find it easier to sit at the computer when it isn’t bright and beautiful outside. On the other hand, I tend to sleep in later in the cold months, because I just don’t want to leave the comfort of my warm and cozy bed! In the spring/summer I get a lot more done in the morning when I’m feeling alert and awake, and motivated. In the fall/winter, I get a lot more done in the evening, when it gets dark around dinner time and I don’t feel pulled outside. Also, something about summer in general makes me feel lazy…all I want to do is eat fresh fruit and lounge in my hammock. ;-P

    • Hi Ally ~ Do you try to fight the urges? What king of suggestions would you have for someone who wants to oppose a natural tendency? What kinds of things do you find motivating to get you to sit at the computer in the summertime or get out of bed earlier in the winter. (I’m always looking for new things to try on myself!)

  • Kelly, I envy you. Fall makes me want to curl up under a blanket with a good book–to read, not to write. I am much more energetic in springtime, and I dread the long dark nights. My writing desk is near a window, and I vastly prefer writing during daylight hours.


    • Hi Pat! Don’t envy me, please. I think I’ve just had the worst summer ever in terms of writing productiveness. If a butterfly flew by the window, I was there. No concentration!

  • I’m definitely more productive at night. Even though I work from home, I find my days doing domestic stuff, laundry & dishes, while at night I just want to write and get stuff done. And I can work till dawn if I don’t watch myself. Funny, Fall is always my “New Year” when I’m pushed to do more; dates back to the whole attending school schedule. Also, I’m always just pumped after Dragon*Con to get more writing done. šŸ™‚ Good post!

    • Hi Trish! I’m usually pushed to do the whole ‘organizing’ thing in the fall, too. But like so many other things, it’s snuck up on me. I’m not feeling the urgency this year. Have fun at Dragon Con!

  • Roxanne

    Since I too have a day job (which takes up an inordinate amount of my time), I find myself writing at night. But I can write at anytime–a nice, sunny Saturday doesn’t faze me a bit. So after the daytime errands, that’s usually what I find myself doing…writing. Though sometimes you might catch me curled up reading a good book.

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