If you’re anything like me you’ll find yourself writing late at night. If I’m on a roll I find it hard to stop because I’ll lose the train of thought or idea so I just run with it. The only problem is that sometimes you’ll be half-asleep when you’re writing which brings its own problems.
The only time I never write is in the morning!
I tried (for a long while) to change these habits but what followed was a long period of exhaustion and the realisation that I’m just a night person.
I’m more awake, more alert and more creative after dinner-time.
I find no issue with that but the rest of the world seems to work in a different timezone.
Sometimes I’ll be writing for so long that I start missing things. Plenty of times I’ve come across missed words or even half a sentence that suddenly stops short. I think I’ve written it but I haven’t. Oddly enough, I still remember what words are missing and stare at the page as if someone has stolen them, thinking `I’m sure I wrote that sentence. Where is it?’
So how do you deal with this pitfall?
1. Avoid uncreative words like `productive’ and `motivated’ – If you’re a storyteller or poet stick to thinking like one. It’s not an olympic race. Try to avoid thinking of it as such and more ideas will crop up.
2. Accept your strengths – If you’re a good novelist but hate writing short stories that’s fine. Only write one if you want to write one or fancy entering a competition or something. Don’t do it because you think you should. Some people argue that writing short stories is good practise for writing novels. I actually find writing shorter stories harder than writing novels because you have to condense everything into such a small space. Personally I don’t think they are the same at all and it’s very possible to be capable of doing one better than the other.
3. Write when you would normally write – If you’ve been writing for a long time, then you will probably not even think about when you write, it’s just something you do. Keep it that way! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you should be doing it every day if you don’t want to. Some people need breathers in between writing sessions, while they think up the next scene. Similarly if you can’t stay awake late but are fresh as a daisy in the morning then follow your instinct. We have to be careful not to let laziness creep in when using words like `write when you feel like it’.
It doesn’t mean that you won’t need to put the work in but that you should follow your natural writing instinct. If you have a sudden strong desire to write a story then follow it! If you have never done any writing before then you will have to try to learn to follow your writing instinct. I call it an urge or an itch. Sometimes it creeps up on you and you just have an intense urge to write something. Other times it disappears for ages and you miss it like crazy.
4. Don’t try to change your natural sleeping pattern – Some people are Morning Larks, some people aren’t extreme in either way (Hummingbirds) and some people are Night Owls. I’m the latter. I always have been and no amount of trying to force it to change works. When I don’t follow my natural pattern, I’m exhausted.
Please remember to take refreshments and bathroom breaks during long writing/revision sessions. It doesn’t matter if you are getting up and down every so often as long as when you sit back down you are still getting down to work. Plus it’s better for your legs!
- Writing Pitfalls – The Pressure Trap (bardicblogger.wordpress.com)
- Day 21 – Writing Pitfalls: Battle Cry (bardicblogger.wordpress.com)
- Sleepless (newauthors.wordpress.com)
- Writing Pitfalls – Can You Research Too Much? (bardicblogger.wordpress.com)
- Day 23 – Insomnia (bardicblogger.wordpress.com)
- The Writing Life: When to leave Your 9-5 (bardicblogger.wordpress.com)
- Why I Am Writing (jennyhaygood.wordpress.com)
- You Beta Your Life (accordingtohoyt.com)
- A writer’s heart (via Live to Write – Write to Live) (offthemarkandroaming.wordpress.com)
- Looking Back at The First Half of the First Month of An Already Long Year (randomyriad.wordpress.com)
- Interview with Janelle Meraz Hooper, Author of Bears in the Hibiscus (blogcritics.org)
- Keep Those Submissions Coming (pittsburghflashfictiongazette.com)
- Why write novels? (richardgwyn.wordpress.com)