Full-time Writing

I’ve just finished reading an article in Writer’s Digest about being a writer with a full-time job.

Yeah, that’s hard. It’s doing all your work, plus more work when you get home—although the work at home is much more like play-time, than work. You can relax, unwind, put your characters through Hell, and edit that really shitty paragraph you wrote two days ago and have been wondering if it was really you that wrote that shitty paragraph.

And most of the other articles I’ve read would ask writers to get up early in the morning and write before they have to get ready for work.

 

mrs-brown

People write at 5:30am? Srsly?

 

In the old house, I took 5:30am for what it actually was: a time I should be asleep. But, now that my commute is nearly an hour both ways (2 hours return), I’ve got to get up at 5:30 in the morning to get myself prepared for work, and leave the house by 6:45 to get to my desk at 7:45am.

Could I get up earlier? Possibly, but that means sacrificing sleep, and/or going to bed earlier, which probably won’t happen, one, because sleep is really important and I need the 7-9 hours a night, and two, because I’ve got a metric craptonne of scheduling issues.

Not to mention that I really like being relaxed when I write. I want to take my time and I don’t want to rush or be rushed. I want to let the words flow. I want to take 5 minutes to find out how countries spied on each other in 295BC or what a real good whisky smells like. I like going on Youtube, looking for interesting bits of history or philosophy that I can add into my novel.

As a side note, I inevitably get lost while watching Youtube videos, and it looks a lot like this:

5:53pm: Go in, search for, and watch one video on the Battle of Sentinum. Note that Publius Decius devoted himself/sacrificed himself and galvanised the Roman army. Use this as a template for Sarah’s character when she sacrifices herself to save her husband.

10:48am: I belong to the Church of the Fuck Box, and pledge an eternal bond of servitude to my Lord and Saviour, the Demon God Dumplin. I also know how to talk to giraffes.

 

dumplin

Dumplin can talk to giraffes too… from the FUCK BOX!

 

It’s no secret that I can’t brain in the morning. I’m lucky I can turn off my alarm and that only requires one button to push. Imagine pushing heaps?

Night is my time to write.

I take a few minutes while the mince is browning or the pancakes are cooking to write 100 words. I don’t have kids, and don’t watch television. PlusOne and I retire to our respective computers before and after dinner (we don’t eat in front of the computer or the television if there’s something on). I write, and he does… stuff, like quoting The Big Lebowski ad infinitum and looking at BBQ pitmaster videos.

I have always found solace in the night. It’s quieter, but it also has its own sounds, smells, and tastes. A hot drink at 3pm doesn’t taste nearly as good as a hot drink at 10pm. It’s comforting, quiet, and relaxing. The insects buzz, and the birds cease chirping. Wood snaps in the fire place. A wristwatch ticks in the stillness. Stars dot the sky, like someone poked holes in a black piece of paper. Nychtophile (love of the night) and scotophile (love of the darkness) describe me pretty well. Pluviophile (love of the rain) is another. Selenophile (love of the moon) is yet another. Rain on the roof in the middle of the night is one of nature’s symphonies; it’s loud and euphonious, and makes me feel calm.

To me, the night is sitting on the porch in the dark, sipping hot chocolate, and listening to the sounds of the night while wrapped in the blanket my mom crocheted for me. It’s also the sound of my fingers flying over the keyboard, and spinning tales of… whatever I’m writing at the time.

Ideally, though, you want what ultimately works for you. All we need is a consistent writing routine and whether you’re a night person or a morning person is irrelevant. Studies show that creativity happens at any time your mind is quiet and free from distractions, which is why you get good ideas in the shower. Some of my best ideas happen when I’ve got zero distractions: folding clothes, doing the dishes, and showering. During the day, I tend to be completely out of my creative zone (with few exceptions). I have things to do, work to get done, paper to file, emails to write, phones to answer. There’s very little time for creativity and idea generation. So, I wait till I get home and for the sun to go down. That’s when I truly feel alive.

What do you find is the best time to write?

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