What is your most creative time of day?

When do you write – in the morning, late in the evening? Are you at your most creative when surrounded by noise – music, coffee shop chatter, or do you prefer silence?

Some people can write any place, any time. If finding the time to write is an issue, it’s a case of taking whatever you can get, whether that means writing on the train to work, or in between dropping the kids at various clubs.

I’m a morning person, always have been. I would rather get up at 6am and write than wait until the kids have gone to bed to start work. By then, I am good for nothing and my poor brain can’t take it. In the mornings, I am refreshed after a good night’s sleep and my mind is empty of thoughts that might get in the way of my creativity. It’s blissfully unaware of whatever stresses the day might bring. It looks like this:

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By the end of the day, after organising the lives of three children, plus work and whatever else is going on, it’s more like this:

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What room is there on here for any creativity?

This happened to me last Thursday night when I went to my writing group. I dashed out of the door as soon as my husband came home (it was like tag), making it just in time. This was after running around after school with the two little ones and dealing with my eldest, who had had a particularly difficult day. I was stressed and feeling emotionally drained and when I got to the group I was like a zombie.

I had nothing to add, intellectual or otherwise to any conversation and when it came to a creative exercise, I was well and truly stumped. Zero, nada, zilch, nothing. I had a moment of ‘why am I here doing this? What is the point?’ And I almost ran out of the door. I realised though, that after the day I’d had, it was no surprise that I’d lost my creative mojo. There was no space left in my poor little brain for anything else.

Perhaps an evening writing class is no good for me, or maybe I could put it down to a bad week. I’m not sure anyone does writing groups at 6am though, so you have to take what you can get, don’t you? When I’m working on my novel, I can write anytime anywhere, but that’s because I’m so familiar with my characters and the story, I can dip in and out of it whenever I like. It’s not the same when you a creating something new. You need to be in ‘the zone’ to come up with something. Do you find that, or is it me? Is my lack of creativity on demand a fault of mine that as someone who dares to call herself a writer should be worried about? I don’t know, but I would be interested in what you think about all this.

I’m sharing this for What I’m Writing.

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Comments (0)

  1. Mummy Tries 17th March 2015 at 9:36 am

    Haha I was thinking about this very same thing at 5am as I was feeding F and doing all my blog stuff! Definitely a morning person, come 9pm though I’m no good to man nor beast 😉

  2. Emily Organ 17th March 2015 at 11:32 am

    This is a good question and I find my most creative time of day is changing. For years I was an evening person but these days I’m a waste of space after 9pm. I can imagine I’d be the same as you at a writing group. Increasingly I’m doing more in the mornings. Ideally I would get on with writing as soon as I wake up as I’m eager to get going. Realistically I have to do the school run and walk the dog before anything else gets done. So I do okay writing 11am – 3pm, I get a dip after that and could do early evening if there was ever an opportunity. I have a dream of going on a writing retreat and having all day to write with time for a little nap here and there. I agree that creativity isn’t something you can turn on and off like a tap, but you do get used to forcing it a bit when your time isn’t flexible.

    • Nicola Young 17th March 2015 at 11:37 am

      That’s a good long stint of writing, Emily, especially if it’s everyday. I would so love to go on a retreat too. Can you imagine all that peace and quiet with nothing to do but write?!

  3. sophieblovett 17th March 2015 at 1:40 pm

    I’m definitely finding my best brain time is changing… I used to be a total night owl, and whilst I’m still not great in the mornings I’m now generally too knackered to be much use in the evenings either! I have done most of my novel writing so far in Arthur’s morning nap time – so between 11 & 1. But now he seems to be getting booked up with activities in the mornings, so I’m having to train myself to write in the afternoons instead. Coffee is helping with that… I still occasionally get bursts of creative energy in the evenings. I’m hoping I don’t lose that entirely as I may not have much choice once Arthur drops his naps altogether! xx

  4. maddy@writingbubble 17th March 2015 at 3:04 pm

    I’m not a morning person at all – my brain is sluggish and I’d much rather stay in bed (which can’t happen of course!). My most creative time of day is during my toddler’s afternoon nap, so 1 – 3ish. I can get going earlier (mid/late morning) given half a chance but I don’t often get that chance! Evenings work for me in summer but I really struggle in winter because when it’s dark I just want to curl up and go to sleep or watch telly. Like you I need to be in ‘the zone’ to start something new but when I’m in the zone I find it hard to get out of it – I’ve done the school run and been totally stuck in my own head the whole time (if you know what I mean) because the characters have me in their grip! I think as working/writing mums we just have to fit writing in where we can. I certainly don’t think you have anything to worry about in the creativity department! xx

    • Nicola Young 18th March 2015 at 7:49 pm

      That’s afternoon slump time for me and it’s difficult to get anything done. One good thing about the school run is getting some fresh air to pick you up after that slump, but I generally don’t get chance to do anything after school. I know what you mean about winter evenings. Roll on the summer.

  5. redpeffer 17th March 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Yes, I’m a morning person too. It’s one of the reasons I haven’t considered any evening courses because by 8pm i’ve had it during the school term! My daughter does not find school easy and some evenings can be very tricky to handle-emotional energy saps creative energy for sure. I think you should have no worries about your creativity though 🙂

    • Nicola Young 18th March 2015 at 7:51 pm

      Thanks Iona. I know what you mean about helping with the kids. Sometimes on a weekend I think I might get some writing done, but end up helping with homework instead. By the time we’re finished, my brain is fried!

  6. Morgan Prince 19th March 2015 at 2:35 pm

    A good question, I think I write better in the afternoon. It’s still while the boys are at school but I feel more ‘free’ if that makes sense. Just after lunch I set my timer and get down to my 30 mins of writing. I think it helps that I know my characters like you. Hope you get some time for creativity soon. xx

  7. Virtually All Sorts (@AllSortsHere) 20th March 2015 at 9:24 pm

    When I’m creating something from ‘scratch’ I also need to mentally prepare and can’t just do bits and pieces here and there. I work better at night though. I’ve tried the getting up early thing and find it doesn’t really work for me. #whatimwriting

  8. Chrissie@muddledms 17th April 2015 at 5:11 pm

    I’m completely useless in the morning. I think my peak creativity hits just after lunch, but I’m usually at work so all my novel writing is done on exhausted after-work brain (hence the lack of productivity recently).
    I find that if I force creativity, I can normally get in The Zone after a short time period if I stick with it, but everything I write while trying to get there is rubbish.

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