I was speaking with another writer at an evening function recently about the structure of our writing days and told him, “I do most of my writing between eight and two.” “Me, too,” he said and he seemed to like the idea that we had similar routines but I knew immediately that it wasn’t the same eight and two I was talking about. “At night,” I clarified. “Oh,” he said as the vast difference in our approach was realised.
I could tell just by looking at him that he was a morning writer. The fact that it was mid-evening and he was blearily drinking his beer and rubbing his eyes made it obvious he was getting ready to go home to sleep. Meanwhile, I was as bright eyed as I normally am at that hour and preparing to go home to write for a few hours.
I know it isn’t always practical for everyone but I have always been a night writer. In previous years, that was just a necessity because I worked a full-time job during the day and I have never been a morning person. Certainly, it would not have been productive for me to get up early to write. I don’t start thinking clearly until about two hours after I get up so I figure I might as well spend that extra time sleeping and schedule my writing for when I am well and truly awake.
Others might be forced to write at night because it’s the only time they get to themselves. But I choose it. To me, there is beauty in the midnight blog post (or whatever other piece of writing I happen to be working on).
I don’t have any children but if I did, they’d be asleep. By that hour, my cats are usually snuggled up beside me or sitting on my stretched out legs (the closest they can get to my lap since the laptop is already on it).
It’s too late for telemarketers and extended family so the phone doesn’t ring. The occasional text might pop up but it’s easily dealt with in seconds rather than minutes. And emails continue to arrive in my inbox but I make sure I’m signed out so I can ignore them until tomorrow.
By that time, the traffic noise has died down to a barely noticeable hum even though I live sandwiched between a freeway, two main roads and the flight path from Tasmania. And as the hour approaches midnight, there’s nothing good on TV to distract me. In fact, after midnight the ads for the phone sex lines start playing and the television starts to be mildly disturbing rather than pleasantly distracting.
So it makes complete sense that this is the time I should write.
I also schedule my blog posts so that they are posted at midnight every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. At least, it’s midnight somewhere in the world (somewhere in the US where WordPress is headquartered, I think). Here in Australia the posts appear at 11.00 am (10.00 am during Daylight Savings Time). But that’s usually the time I’m conscious and able to think clearly in the morning so there’s a nice correlation.
I’m sure there is beauty in the morning blog post, beauty in the lunchtime blog post, beauty in the afternoon blog post and beauty in the evening blog post. But it’s all in the eye of the beholder, right? So until circumstances force me to be in bed early, I’m going to sit up late and write.
As that other writer would say, as he frequently used to say before we both became full-time writers but would spend hours imagining it, “I’m living the dream.”