Ever since I started taking my writing seriously, I’ve consciously labeled mornings as my most creative time. After a workout, I carry coffee and breakfast to my desk, fire up my computer, and build a new story. On the best days my brain is already fired up, and the words just—flow.
If I capture that morning spark, the rest of the day is usually more productive as well. If I sacrifice it to easier tasks—checking email, scrolling through social media—I feel like I’ve missed the boat. Who knows what scenes, characters, blogs, and context I missed on those mornings I was just too dang lazy to actually write anything?
I’m sure there are chemical reasons for my morning-spark, but since chemistry was my least favorite subject in high school (and something I’ve avoided ever since) I am hardly qualified to cover that aspect. All I know is: my brain works better in the morning. That’s why I’ve learned to schedule editing and paperwork and client meetings after lunch whenever possible.
There are plenty of writers who do their best work after dark, perhaps with help from their favorite beverage. They have the same goal, approached from the opposite end of the day’s sobriety: freeing the semi-conscious, by getting all of those more urgent thoughts out of the damn way.
Though I’d like to better understand the science behind this personal quirk, all that really matters is understanding myself well enough—and then walling off those mornings from all the less creative stuff that also needs doing. I don’t know where my best stories come from; all I know is that getting them down onto the page is a lot easier at the start of my workday.
What about you? Got a preferred time for creative work? Share it in the comments below, or send me an email. I read every single one, with gratitude (though I usually try to wait until after lunch).