Burning the Midnight Oil

Here’s a question I’ve been asking myself for a very long time. Why is it that ‘inspiration’ flows so much better in the middle of the night?? I wake up in the morning, with hours of free time ahead of me to write, and nothing happens. (Well, the dishes get washed, I play with the dog, my Facebook and e-mails get checked…you get the picture.)

As soon as I start thinking about going to bed and TURN OFF THE LAPTOP, all of a sudden ideas start flowing. All I can do at that point is grab a pen and notebook, scribble down as much as I can and hope that the motivation is still there in the morning. Sadly, I guess at about the time I slip into REM sleep, the cycle resets and I tumble out of bed uninspired once again.

Perhaps you don’t have this problem. Why not?? Please advise me!!!

Like so many other aspects of writing, the time of day you write is a matter of personal choice and varies between individuals. There must be a myriad of factors that affect this choice, but I think probably the top two are

  • working in writing time around other commitments
  • being in the right mindset to write

The first is not a problem for me…I don’t work a lot of hours, and have the house to myself most of the time. You’d think that would be an advantage, but for some reason – during those uninterrupted daylight hours – mindset does become a problem. It’s not until the late evening (or even early hours of the morning) that I start to feel the creative juices flowing.

Unless I intend to completely change my sleeping patterns, I do need to be going to sleep at that time…not ramping up for a long writing session. Any suggestions?

An artist friend of mine told me he has the same problem…he always feels most like creating in the middle of the night. We discussed it, and came to the conclusion that maybe it was a matter of being more relaxed at that hour. Thinking about it further, could it be that at midnight (or 2 am!) there is less expectation, less pressure to produce something, so the dam wall breaks and whatever it is that was welling up inside you is able to flow out? I suppose if that’s the case the big question now is, how can you replicate that feeling in daylight hours?

I’m probably rambling now…that’s what happens at 2 am…but it’s a heck of a lot more productive than staring at a blank screen at noon!

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One thought on “Burning the Midnight Oil

  1. I think that we feel more creative at night time, because it feels like we won’t be disturbed, the world around us is calm and there’s less expectation to go and get things done.

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