Why You Should Be Writing at Night

From Jeff: This is a guest post by Jonathan Manor. Jonathan Manor is a dating and self improvement blogger. He is obnoxious, insecure, and above all else, awesome. He blogs at Evening Revolution. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanManor.

Like most writers starting out, I thought that writing was an all day event.

From the moment you got out of bed, you were supposed to be sitting in front of your computer, until the moment you were heading back into bed. That’s simply not the best way to go around with writing.

Writing at Night
Photo credit: Alex Kehr (Creative Commons)

The problem

Even though you’re devoting so much time to writing, you have to question what you’re getting out of it other than time consumption.

The next time you devote a whole day to writing, track down how many pages you wrote. After that, then question how many of those pages were good writing.

There’s a difference between cranking out pages of writing, and cranking out really good pages of writing.

A lot of great writers, authors, bloggers, and freelancers choose to spend their nights writing.

A few months ago, I read an article proposing that the best time to write was in the morning, before you get into the shower, before you step out of your pajamas, and even before you decide to brush your teeth.

On an empty stomach, when your mind was completely clear, this article said that that was the best time to write. If your mind is completely clear, wouldn’t it be clear of creativity too?

The reason that most writers — “good” writers — choose to write at night, is because their mornings, afternoons, and early evenings have filled their bodies with inspiration.

Not only is writing before you brush your teeth incredibly bad hygiene, but it makes writing become a race to the finish.

A race to the finish?

Writing should never be a race to the finish.

It should be a long immersion in a hot tub or a relaxing meditation.

Good writers write at night, because it’s devoid of distraction, there’s nothing else left to do in the day, there’s no one else to hurry to. It’s simply just you being yourself and pouring out the emotions that you’ve gathered from your day time experience and using that creativity to create something beautiful and interesting.

I, personally, designate a time to write “good” pages between the hours of 10:30pm to 3:00am. At a certain point of my writing career, I decided to get a normal day job working part time for a interior decorating store and it’s been the most valuable decision I’ve ever made for my writing.

I get paid minimum wage to stare at people, talk to people, and savor what it’s like to have a normal life. It’s more productive than staring at a computer monitor every morning hoping for inspiration to come.

Getting to bed by 3:00am gives me the opportunity for a healthy night’s sleep where I could wake up at 10am and get to work by noon. Sleep is important, never skip out on sleep, meals, and play time.

Designating a writing shift gives you the opportunity for all three of these things.

Getting the Most Out of Night Writing

If you want to try writing at night, here’s how you can spend those evenings:

1. Have a plan

Whether you’re a freelance writer, author, or blogger, it’s always good to have a plan.  J.K. Rowling, the author to the Harry Potter series, writes outlines to her chapters on a piece of binder paper before she starts writing.

This type of planning is important because it provides the writer with a direction and keeps them focused.

2.  Take breaks

It may seem appealing to want to spend every minute of your designated writing time purely writing.  However, fighting off starvation isn’t going to help.

Geoff Colvin states in his book, Talent is Overrated, that the most prestigious violin players choose to practice for two or three sessions of an hour and a half with breaks in between.

3. Just write

The hardest part of writing isn’t the sitting down part. It’s not the part where you open up your laptop. It’s where you finally push out your first few sentences and build momentum that’ll fuel the rest of your work.

By planning what you’ll be writing ahead of time, the only real work you’ll have to put in is getting that first sentence to budge.

Everything should be smooth sailing from there.

Have you ever written at night? Share in the comments.

*Photo credit: Alex Kehr (Creative Commons)

Disclosure: Some of the above links were affiliate links.

169 thoughts on “Why You Should Be Writing at Night

  1. As a night owl myself, I’ve always found it easier to write at night.  I never thought about the fact that doing so meant I’d had a full day of input to draw from though.  It’s a good point-beats the heck out of getting up at the crack of dawn and staring at a blank screen in a total daze.

  2. Writing at night is when I do the majority of my writing. It is free of distractions and for me, it is when creative ideas surface. My daytime “job” is that I’m a very busy mother of three and a home educator. I must write at night, but I also choose to do so, and enjoy it. While following a 3 am bedtime and 10 am wake-up type of schedule is impractical for me, I like your ideas here for maintaining a job and writing at night and would think it would be a beneficial idea for writers out there.

    1. It’s great to designate a time to write, because even if you don’t start writing at some point during the day, it pushes you to squeeze something out between those hours.  It’s a good practice.  The author to Eat Pray Love says some days she doesn’t have a muse.  Some days she shows up for work at her desk and says, if my muse isn’t there that’s fine, I’m still going to show up for work.  And she writes.  

  3. I write better at certain times of the day, but my day job only allows me to write between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. 

    I write well between these hours and have a lot of production. I never thought of taking a break every hour and half. I think that is a great idea. 

    Great post Jeff.

    1. I take a break to eat.  Eating is awesome!  Dying on a computer, not so much.  I tried writing and texting yesterday.  It’s a good experiment.  It helps you break away from the creative world and then come back to it.

      1. Not sure why I didn’t see this was a guest post, sorry about that Johnathan.
         I keep a supply of Flipz chocolate covered pretzels at my writing desk so I wouldn’t leave my desk and walk around the house or anything else to get away from writing. But will start taking breaks to let my brain recharge.

  4. I will need to give this some thought.  I do write at night but not predominantly.  I have never been a night owl.  I would much prefer to wake up at 5:00am or even earlier to write.  I’ve always struggled staying up  past 11  or so at night.  In college, when others would pull all nighters I could not do it.   Still can’t.  I might not have as much to draw from in the morning but I feel fresher and my thoughts seem clear.  Perhaps, I just need to switch from decaf to reg coffee in the evening.  🙂

    1. Every morning, I wake up for work at 8am.  I usually leave work at 2 or 3 pm given what day it is.  Then I end up in the library to read just enough to grasp the flow of writing I’m trying to get inspired from.  That ends at about 5 to 7.  I take a bike ride home; 30 minutes.  Whether or not I take a nap, that’s when I start writing.  I’m finished, done.  Sometimes I wait until my designated writing time, but I don’t have to.  Sometimes I just go.

  5. Being a college student the situation is reversed. Night time is the most distracting part of the day. So the mornings usually work best for me.

    Mornings seem to glow, don’t they? A brief walk outside in the morning, dew, fresh sun – that’s enough inspiration for me. I’m not entirely convinced that having the events of a day swirling around in one’s head is a good thing. But everyone’s different.

    1.  That’s interesting.  I use to be nocturnal and would miss so much of my day life because of it, so I can assume you’d be missing out on a lot of your experiences at night if you were at college.  Good point!

  6. I’ve pulled a couple of all nighters this summer when the writing juices were flowing. It’s not practical for me on a regular basis with two children and a family to care for all day though. I also find that mid-mornings are generally my productive time. I love mornings, actually that’s when my imagination kicks into overdrive. I’m fighting fatigue by 10pm and when I write then I find I’m less productive and wear myself out.

  7. I think when one writes is very much tied to what works best for a given individual. Certainly, if the day job mandates that you’ve got night writing hours or no hours, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to so. But man, I am definitely spent by 10 pm and by midnight I’m dead to the world unless you count bleary-eyed video gaming (and even that’s less common these days). I can totally get behind the idea of not writing all day to consider it a ‘writing day’, though. I just can’t wait until the late hours or I’m just toast.

    1. My hours don’t have to be your hours.  My 10:30 to 2am, aren’t set in stone.  I write when I’m done with work and done catching up with my reading.  As for me that’s all there is in the way of my writing.  When that’s done, I have a haven for me to write with no distractions.

  8. Okay so I  love the idea of writing at night, but c’mon your clock is just shifted. You are really writing until 11 my time and getting up at 6. I write anytime I am inspired. For me it is time sensitive.
    I also think there are as many writing styles as there are people. I tried the Rowlings lay chapters out first and it about killed the creative process of writing for me. 
    In my opinion we shouldn’t over think the process, but just do it!
    Great post!

    1.   I use to think that, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t.  But I did feel like I was writing aimlessly.  I’m currently using Rowling’s method and it’s working very well for me.  I think you should feel it out and figure out what techniques and methods work for you and share those techniques because they might work for other people.

  9. I do my best writing at night, but struggle to keep a “real person” schedule when I do so.  Lately, if I feel inspired at night I take the laptop to bed, and I’ve actually done some decent writing propped against pillows with my husband snoozing beside me.  But I still can’t bring myself to stay up later than 1 or so like I used to.  I do miss it and it’s worth experimenting with more if it truly produces better work.


    1.  I think experimentation is the key.  When I freelanced wrote and wrote against a clock, I didn’t care what I was writing.  All I cared about was that I was getting paid to write mediocre stuff.  When I truly care about my writing, I’ll critique and perfect every sentence, and even every word.  With my books, my blogs, my guest posts, and anything that truly defines what I am through what I say, where I have a name, a place, and an identity, that’s when I let myself become vulnerable.

  10. Thanks Jonathan. I tend to write really early in the morning, primarily because that’s when I’m freshest, and when the world is still quiet. You make an interesting point about inspiration though. I carry a notebook with me and jot down all my inspirations during the day – then when i come to write in the morning it’s all there for me. I know that many writers prefer to write at night. Me, I prefer the mornings.


    1.  I did that yesterday when I walked through a park.  However, I didn’t end up writing anything down.  I planned on writing the outline for the next few chapters that I needed to write, but instead I figured out things like dialogue, names, different aspects and angles that I need to incorporate. 

  11. I thoroughly agree with your thoughts on writing in the morning – whenever I have a ‘deadline’, place to be, stuff to get done, whatever – I just can’t relax into writing properly. This is what I love about writing at night, after about 10pm when the house is quiet I can write, pace the floor, ponder, read, stare into space and write again without any interruptions or distractions. And, as you say, I have a whole day of musings to draw upon.

    1. Thank you Mike.

      I do spend a lot of my time listening to music, which is supposed to be on right now but both Pandora and LastFM are being jerks.  It’s good to have other activities other than focusing your whole life on what you’re going to write about.  I think if you focus too much on your writing, you’ll find it hard to expand your creativity.

  12. Yes. I have to admit that if I got up early to write, my mind would totally be fuzzy and only garble would come out. Then again, that could be the start of one of the most random and entertaining blogs ever, haha.

    1. Interesting.  I could picture a blog where people got super drunk or hungover and started writing letters to their boss and posting about it.  That would be a great idea for a blog!  Very entertaining indeed.

  13. I agree that writing at night produces some of the best results ever. After an entire day of activity, the night is a good time for reflection and new ideas.

    However, I disagree that we can’t produce great stuff the moment we wake up.

    I used to come up with the most interesting theories and content while on my way to fitness bootcamp at 630am. For some reason, cranky drowsiness appeals to the neuroticism in me.

    Perhaps, it would be better to say that writers produce the best content when they are raw and haven’t had a bit of human communication ( thus dilution) yet. Just my two cents!

    1.  I have to say, I did articulate some dreams I had before they faded from my mind.  I feel like some of those writings are really well done.  Sometimes my best writing comes when I get straight out of the shower since I do a lot of thinking in the shower.

  14. Scientific studies show that everyone exhibits three basic sleep patterns and that they persist throughout our lives much like a personality type. Each type (early morning, midday, late night) has a portion of the day when their brain is at its best. This post could have been used in those books/articles on sleep as an example of a classic night owl (the times listed are a perfect example of the preferred pattern and optimal thinking time for a night owl).

    I’m a night owl myself, so I could easily nod along with this post. But it’s not really a post about writing. It’s a post about Jonathan’s preferred sleep & work pattern.

    Someday, when my small children don’t require me to get up early to be a part of their lives, I look forward to working on a similar schedule.

    1. That’s an interesting way to look at it.  This could be my explanation for how my writing works with my sleeping patterns. However, night writing isn’t just about writing at night, it’s about writing when there are no more errands to run during the day and you could fully immerse yourself in your writing without having to deal with anything else during the day.

    2. What’s weird for me is that if I try and wake up at six or eight, I’ll feel groggy and irritable. If I wake up at four, I’m usually raring to go.

  15. I have experienced the creativity of this lately. Sitting in my pajamas, with a cup of hot tea next to the bed, I seem to focus a little better. People aren’t talking to me online. I’m not obsessed with the latest tweet or who’s doing what on Facebook. It’s just me, the keyboard, and some relaxing music in the background. Makes for some productive work.

    1.  I am currently doing the same thing. 

      I do prefer a minimalistic approach when I’m doing writing.  I close my tweetdeck, I close all the windows except for the document I’m working on.  I should really turn off my phone too.  This gives me a path to focus better.  It’s a lot more refreshing and a lot less distracting.

  16. I write in my journal at night.  Sometimes that gets translated to my blog in the morning.  A lot of my blogging is composed throughout the day in my head and put to “paper” in the morning – before work.

    1.  Same here. 

      In a previous comment I went over how I spend my time thinking about the characters and plot lines in the book that I’m currently writing.  Then at night, when I come back from work or reading at a bookstore, (it’s very important to keep up with your reading) I throw myself into my writing and get as far as I can.

  17. As a fiction writer with a hectic day job, I can only imagine what my writing would be like at 11pm (If I could stay awake that long). I prefer the mornings, where my mind is clear, the house is quiet, and that first cup of coffee starts the creativity flowing.

    1.  Unfortunately, I have a medical issue that doesn’t let me drink caffeine so I wouldn’t have any idea how coffee is able to push forward a muse.  But, that does sound intriguing. 

      I don’t think I think that much while I eat.  However, I do think a lot during showers, while walking to the store, and riding my bike.  (I think people should ride bikes because it’s less stressful and gives you more time with your thoughts)  I have found that the 7 minutes it takes to take a shower in the morning sometimes gives me enough ambition to write something down worth reading.

  18. That’s so interesting! I do all my writing at night. In the dark and quiet, after the day’s activities, I feel like my guard is down, and I write more freely and honestly.

    1. I actually don’t write at night.  I set my computer to the lowest brightness and turn the light on behind me. 

      It’s good to be vulnerable when you write.  I think people who are able to rant and express their feelings have a better light of creativity.

  19. I write at various times during the day depending when inspiration strikes or when I have the time. As a personal coach, owner of several blogs, writing a book, and a single mom…as well as the rest of life…I take the time to write whenever possible. 

    Writing at night, however, is when I tend to write my deepest thoughts because I am uninterrupted as my girls are asleep. I often stay awake till 3 in the morning…last night 4AM. However, I have to wake up early for my lovely little ladies. Thankfully, I have much energy and ambition. 

    1.  I think it’s very important to wake up in the morning.  There’s a point during your writing where you know you could keep going but have to measure whether it would be fair to yourself to starve or keep yourself from sleeping.  Writing shouldn’t be an unhealthy habit. 

  20. while there may be a percentage of writers who write at night, using the word “should” is quite misleading.  As a professional writer, I do my very best writing between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.  That’s when my motivation is highest, there are fewer distractions, and I’ve had all day to plan the writing session.  Many of my writing friends are best early in the morning, before the world awakens.  For those who find writing at night useful, more power to ya.  For everyone else?  The best time to write is when you’re feeling it…whenever that may be.

  21. Long ago I learned that writing at night is most productive for me.  I can sit and stare at the computer screen accomplishing nothing from 7 on but as soon as 10 hits, when I’m just starting to out going to bed early… BOOM productivity!  I don’t really mind (as long as I didn’t have an 8am class and now that I don’t have a job).

    1.  I’ve had those. 

      I’ve stayed up for 6 hours writing different articles and stories and found that I had to miss a doctor’s appointment in the morning because the time was 7am and the doctor’s appointment was 8:15am. 

      It was a pretty sad day.

  22. I do my best work at night. Also, check out this study that was published in The Week  (not sure how reputable they are) which shows that night owls are evolutionarily advanced, and more intelligent than those who go to be early and wake up early. https://theweek.com/article/index/209165/night-owls-vs-morning-people-whos-smarter

    1.  That article sounds like it came from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.  “DAYMAN!  Fighter of the NIGHTMAN!” 

      I’ll have to reply the rest of the comments below before I read the article. 

      1. It’s a quick read, but I’m not familiar with the publication. I’m a night owl and it’s content make me out to be smarter than I am, which is really why I like it.

  23. At last something I feel able to comment on. Yes I have written reams at night, when I’ve been in distress, when I’ve been supremely happy, when there was no one else to talk to, when I couldn’t sleep, when I’ve been troubled, anxious, delirious. I realise that I do write best at night. Its when my day, my life comes tumbling out along with everyone else’s that I’ve been touching. You’re right there is much less distraction then. Keeping awake long enough is my only problem! The advice is good advice.

    1.  Alice, you don’t have to wait until sunset to start writing.  You just have to accomplish everything else that the day demands so you could sit at your desk in peace and start writing.  That could be at 12 noon, early evening, or midnight.  Whenever you have free time, free from anything else you need to do, is the best time to write.

  24. Most times, I agree with you and really appreciate your encouragement and forthright attitude about writing. However, I think time of day is unique to the person. For example, Ernest Hemingway had very peculiar habits, and they obviously worked well for him. He had his desk (a standing desk, no less!) set up in his bedroom, and the first thing he did in the morning was wake up, walk over to his desk, and crank out 500 words. He began by handwriting it, and then he would type up a complete draft of what he had come up with that day. I can agree with points two and three, and I understand that writing late at night works for you, but it’s not that way for everyone. I think a big reason why so many writers struggle with creating a good workflow and schedule is because so many people have the habit of telling them they’re doing it wrong. Do what works best for you, late at night, early in the day, or mid-afternoon. 

    1.  I do agree with you Bethany.  Above all else, and this goes for any type of advice, you should simply find the rhythm, the style, the method, that works for yourself.  Articles like this are just helping people find their direction.

  25. I recently quit my part-time job to stay home and take care of our children and to pursue publishing my first book.  I am having a hard time, telling myself to shut down and not focus on writing.  I feel like there are so many different avenues I could take towards allowing God to get the story out that He has written in my heart to tell…  I enjoy reading your posts Jeff, thanks for carving out time to help direct others who thirst for more. Blessings.

    1.  Thanks Jennifer.  Not to disappoint you, but I wrote this specific blog post for Jeff.  I’m Jonathan Manor, I like bunnies, and writing. 

      I spend a lot of my time thinking about what my characters will do in the story I’m writing.  I think it’s just natural.  People spend a lot of time thinking about the sports they play, or mastering video games, or whatever it is with their craft. 

      I don’t think you’re supposed to turn those types of thoughts off.  You’re supposed to embrace them.

  26. That’s money right there Jeff! I write at night about 90% of the time because I’m inspired throughout my day. If I were to write in the morning, I would only be able to type one sentence “I need COFFEE.”

  27. I recently read a post about going to bed early and waking up early. And the author said it would make you more productive and that being a “night owl” is a learned behavior not a natural behavior. So I’ve been trying it…and failed miserably.

    I’m glad being a night owl doesn’t have to be a disadvantage. That being said. The rest of the world (especially school, children, and most jobs) don’t easily accommodate such a schedule. Even so, I find myself more creative and productive after 4PM

    1. I don’t think being a night owl really makes you a better writer.  I “do” think writing after getting everything done for that day does; which coincidentally falls into the night period. 

      The point I wanted to emphasize was that writing isn’t supposed to be something to cross of your list of things to do for the day.  Writing was something to be immersed in, drowned in, a form of relaxation.  It’s like playing video games when you were younger.  You wanted to play video games, but you had to play video games after your chores and homework were done.  Nobody scheduled video game time, or at least not on their own.  People wanted to play video games until they were tired of it, not because they were running out of time to do other things. 

      That’s the same with writing.  You don’t want it to have to end it simply because you have to pick up the kids at school.

    2. Whoever wrote that post was probably a morning dove. To a dove it is ‘natural’ to be up early. However, to we owls and hawks, writing late at night is our ‘natural behavior’. Indigenous tribes eons ago always had ‘keepers of the stories’, the history’s and story’s that taught, and these story-keepers told stories late into the night around the fires, beneath the stars, or in the large tee-pee around a fire at night. Story keepers have more often than not been night folk. I long ago decided to go with my own ‘natural’ flow. I’d rather live a contented, passionate, productive and deliciously happy life,  than merely a long life allowing other people to tell me how I should be living my life: the life I was personally given as a gift to be lived by ME! 😉 May you follow your heart; live happy, live well…and there’s a good chance you’ll live long and enjoy the ride.

  28. I always write at night. I do the admin and research work in the day. Bedtime is around 3 AM. Best time in the world to write!

  29. I’ve tried writing at night, but what I end up with takes me twice as long and is half as good. I’m just too tired from the day to produce anything worthwhile at that time.

    I think it might be too broad a generalization to say “good writers write at night.” Good writers write during their key hours of productivity. That’s going to be different for everyone. I’m at my best from 1 pm to 5 pm in the afternoon. I know other writers who are at their best from 6 am to 8 am. 

    1. I could see that.  But the title of this blog post is in a rather awkward frame.  I mean to say that you should write at night because it’s free from distractions and free from other daily tasks.  I guess I could’ve titled this blog posts, “Why You Should Blog While You’re Free And Not Doing Anything Else For The Day. . .”

      It’s not very interesting.  

  30. Great post! I have a full-time day job and a part-time weekend job so I do all of my writing at night – be it freelance, blogging or fiction. It’s quiet, I can work at my own pace, and I sometimes find it to be the most inspirational time of the day.

    1. This confirms my thoughts.  You should be able to work at your pace when you write.  Pacing yourself so you could get as much done before you have to do something makes for terrible half effort writing.

    1. I write most of my blog posts at night.  Lately, I’ve just been posting what I write without proofreading it a million times, hoping that people might like it.  I usually write an article, tweet it that night despite whether it’s 2am in the morning, and set a timer to tweet it at 6:15 in the morning.  I like coming home from work seeing that a bunch of people have retweeted me.  It makes me feel special.

  31. I used to write at night.  10:30-3:00 are the best hours because most people are asleep.  Writing seems effortless late at night: no distractions.  I always thought of myself as some kind of creative Santa Claus toiling away at these stories—-my gifts to the world.  And then I started getting paid to write.  It’s amazing what a check for your words does to your writing.  You don’t have time to wait for your muse to guide you seductively to the keyboard.  You quickly learn that there are 24 hours in a day, and you fill as many of those hours (night or day) as you can with writing.  Even.if.you.don’t.feel.motivated. Writing is a talent, a gift, but it’s also a skill that needs to be practiced and learned.  The more you do it, the easier it gets.  Those early years of late night writing prepared me for those deadlines, and revisions I later was asked to make as a professional writer.  Find the hours that work the best for you, and let the words flow.

    1. I did the same thing when I started freelancing.  Starting out, I freelance wrote for 10 dollars for every 500 words.  It became evident, that I really needed to speed up if I wanted to make a profit.  I don’t do a lot of freelance writing anymore, but it was definitely a good experience to have.  It really practiced my sense of endurance and my ability to mule myself forward.

  32. I love the mornings to write, my wife likes the nights. We are wired differently. For me the mornings are fresh, a blank sheet to be explored. 

    So with a cup of coffee (a familiar comment in the posts) I grab my little netbook and settle into my Thinking Chair (a concept from John Maxwell’s book Thinking for a change) and open up a Freemind Mind Map and start outling. Often starting at 5am I am able to get a lot of creative thoughts down. Then I can fill in the rest of the detail later. thanks for sharing your thoughts Mr Owl, this Lark is just watching the sun arise!

    1. Thinking!  Another great point! 

      I can’t think in front of my computer.  It hurts to do so.  When I write, I explore the places and plots that I’ve already thought up throughout the day.  I just go.  Yesterday, I did my thinking as I walked laps around the park holding a notebook in my hand.  I do a lot of thinking at work, A LOT.  I’ve thought of character names and confined plots at work.  I could never do my thinking on my keyboard.  My keyboard is for movement.

  33. I’ve been a night owl all my life but can adjust to a 7 to 4 schedule. Luckily when I substitute teach, I’m done by 2 p.m. for hs and ms. I outline my novel and think about what I’m going to write during the day so it’s ready to be typed when I do sit down.

    1.  You bring up a great point Allison!


      I’ve gotten so much done with my book because I outline the next few chapters before I write them.  (yes, I’m currently writing a book)  I’ve read that JK Rowling, the author to Harry Potter, outlines her chapters by using a piece of binder paper; 5 to 8 chapters on one piece of paper.  I’ve followed her method and it’s worked very well for me.

  34. Indeed, I find that writing (and working in general) at night is very productive. At one point though, I just get too tired and I need to go to bed.

    My productivity at night really depends on how tired I am. If my mind is still clear, I’m doing good. But if I lacked sleep for a few days in a row, I’m better off going to bed and writing the next morning.

    Great post!

    1. I have found myself falling asleep while writing.  It was like my writing was swerving and my sentences were falling apart.  It’s best not to fall asleep at the keyboard.

  35. I actually prefer writing first thing in the morning after that first cup of coffee. It gives me a lift and makes me very ambitious. 🙂 At night I am SO done. Love his idea about immersion, so true. I also find that if I designate a place that’s sacred where I can write, it works like a dream. My sacred space is kind of strange, won’t share, but it sure works!

  36. I don’t write first thing in the morning but I tend to write best after breakfast. I also find getting out of the house makes a difference. I’m more productive at McDonald’s in the morning than at home at night. Don’t know why other than I procrastinate better at home and less in public. Writing for my blog can happen anytime but writing in general happens best in the AM.

    But writing all day? Yeah, right! It’s not going to happen.

    1. I don’t believe I have EVER heard anyone say, “I’m more productive at McDonald’s.” EVER. Except maybe my father-in-law, who owns a Mickey D’s.

  37. I do a lot of my writing at night, and I definitely agree it’s the best time of the day. Sometimes I start out with topic or subject then, by that night I’ve encountered an event or topic that I’m super passionate about. It completely changes where I was originally going with the next days blog post. 

    Great article, and I’m definitely going to implement making better use of my time by writing “good” content. 

  38. Glad I read this because I write at night and I’ve always thought I was doing myself a disservice by doing that.. like writing in the morning is always best.

    I can relate to being hurried to finish during the day.  That’s definitely a good point.

  39. This is interesting, because the dead of night has that allure of being this magical inspirational portion of time that goes unmatched with the rest of the day. But for me, whenever I get home from a long day of work/whatever, the last thing I want to do is write. When I’m online at night and see friends online, I want to chill and chat with them and eventually head to bed. I definitely prefer day-writing (once I get something in my belly and the film off my teeth), but that works out great for me since I usually have my days open before I tutor in the evenings. Love that we can all write inspired at various points in the day/night.

    1. I’ve been writing between 7 and like 10ish as of late.  It’s still pretty much counts as night time.  Two days ago, I wrote a chapter in my book at about noon’ish.  Any time works, but that time that I wrote at noon’ish I didn’t have any plans for the rest of the day and could fully draw myself into my world without being bothered.

  40. AMEN! I hate mornings and I hate being around morning people. How someone can be cheerful and all smiles in the morning is something I cannot fathhom. Now that I have my “nest” all to myself it is wonderful to keep the hours that are best for me and my creativity. Yes, 10 pm to 3 am is ideal writing time, FOR ME. I have tried several times to take the “correct” advice to write first thing in the morning. I try not to ever SEE the morning if I can help it. Just the way I am made and it works great for me. When my house was full it was a different story. Thank you for this encouraging post!

    1. No problem. 

      I can’t “fanthhom” writing when I’m completely clear in my head.  That’s like shooting bullets with a banana.  It just doesn’t make sense to me.  I need ammunition, thoughts, inspiration.

  41. It’s only because of a day job that I’ve had to curb my night-writing. During junior college, I was able to stay up all hours of the night and that’s when I was most prolific. I’m a night owl, and though I do carry around journals to use in the day or evening, I definitely miss my nightly writing. That’s when I can read aloud, act out my characters’ voices without embarrassment, and just make sure the writing flows.

    1. I spend so much time listening to music and playing out battle scenes in my head.  I’ve been doing it in my head ever since I was little.  Nothing embarrassing about writer’s prep!

  42. I’m a big fan of writing late at night, but having to get UP at 3:00am doesn’t really lend itself to nightowl strikes of inspiration. I tend to squeeze in my writing on the bus ride to work or in bits and pieces thru notes on Evernote.

    1. I used to be a night writer, but I’m trying to get up really early now. I’m learning that most of this stuff isn’t innate; it’s discipline. Nonetheless, every once in awhile I still have a streak of midnight inspiration.

  43. I get some of my best writing done at night. I’ll write, then edit/publish my posts in the morning.

    It was Hemingway who said: “Write drunk. Edit sober.” Not literally of course. But what I think he meant was just write. Let the words fall where they may. Write without thinking. Then, step away, take some time to yourself to refresh. Then, revisit your work and edit it to perfection.

    That’s what that means to me anyway. And I’ve learned over time, that some of my best writing comes out at night. 

  44. I think you wrote this post about me! I do my best writing/thinking at night. By that point in the day, my head is overflowing with ideas and it just spills out on the page. It is usually better than when I try to make something come that just isn’t happening in the middle of the day.

    1. Just saw this link…and the comments. I want to encourage you budding author. Follow your heart; after all, God gave us the desires of our heart.
      A friend of The Friend.  Mo Pigeon Find me on Facebook, if you’re on. Merry Christ mas and Happy New Year

  45. Wow, awesome!!!  So many people out there tell you to do your writing first thing in the morning but that is just not the way I like to write.  I don’t necessarily wait until night time but I like to get up, have a nice breakfast, for for a walk, do my grocery shopping or chores and anything else on my to-do list before I settle in to write.  I don’t like to start writing until I know I’ve got the whole rest of the day/night free to be creative!

  46. This is great! I’ve always wondered why I always write so much better at night. It’s not exactly the best thing for an 18 year old to do, especially when you have to rush to school the next day! I’ve always thought it was probably just my “pattern” that leads me to write better at night but this article pretty much solved it in the most logical way for me. I write best at night because by then, my mornings, afternoons and early evenings would have filled my body with inspiration. Well, duh! Now I get it! Thanks for this! 

    1. Hey, I’m an 18 year old nyt owl myself! What bugs me is how the whole world works against the night owls =(.  Too bad I’ve got to go for classes in the early morn. But writing matters to me more. So I prefer to sleep in morning classes and get back to writing at night =).

  47. I found this today, this morning, when I woke up to sit down and writing. I’ve been struggling ever since I decided to making my writing time in the morning, right after I wake up. And today I confronted it: This is NOT working. I thought about how, when I go to bed at night, instead of reading or whatever, I prefer to think about my characters and scenes. I thought about how, in the morning, all I wanna do is drink my goddam coffee and read and watch shit online, receive, input, not output. I chose to work in the morning with the idea of “it’s healthier, and then I can go to bed early” and with the idea of “if I write at night, I’ll be too worked up to fall asleep.” Well maybe I need to take advantage of being worked up and excited about writing at night, even if it means I stay up until 3 am on a regular basis. Because writing in the morning feels like torture. Thanks so much for confirming my suspicions.

    1. Another of my kind! I
      agree pigeon; I became sick and tired of constantly hearing how much better it
      is to create in the morning, the earlier the better. Like you, the morning is
      TORTURE to me, especially if I have to work and produce what I am capable of
      producing. I can only take input in the a.m. If the morning is so great, why do
      I feel wonderful late at night and get so much work done? It’s a good thing
      some of us are alert at night because tons of babies decide to come in the
      middle of the night or emergency surgeries occur at night and police protection
      is still needed at night even more so. When I used to have to work away from home,
      I always looked for positions on second or third shift.

      I don’t know how this
      unscientific ruse came into being but it is not true. At least it is not true
      for us night owls. Just like being an introvert. I got tired of others making
      me feel out of the mainstream because I hate crowds and function at night. We
      are not weird; we are just another version of the variation of the human
      condition. We are lucky to live in a time with great technology that allows us
      to complete our work at the best time for our rhythms. In my younger and more naïve
      days I tried to go along with what everyone said was “best”; those days are
      long gone.

    2. Hi Pigeon. It’s Mo Pigeon. 😉 I’m hoping that you followed your natural instincts. Even some Homing Pigeons fly at night. My father used to race ‘homers’; I know. One flew through storms that blew it waaay of course.  It made it all the way from Maine, in the U.S. to us in Ontario, Canada suggesting it flew not only by day, but through the night to reach the home coop. Fly Right! Fly Write! If flying by night is your natural rythmn, why go against the way you were made. I went through the same struggle. Then I came to acceptance, and with that….great contentment and happiness and productivity. Best. Mo Pigeon.

  48. I thought that it was only because I was procrastinating on getting my paper done for class was the reason that I wrote at night. I do some of my best work when I type it at night and proof read in the morning and through the day. I feel that there is so much more for me to write about when I have gone through a day. This article was great, thanks for the insight. 

    1. I LIKE that you commented that your writing seems to be more honest at night. I have noticed the same thing. I wonder if at night, when we are alone and uninterupted if our genuine self, which of course informs our writing is free of any need to please ‘the other’, to keep up ‘the survival masks’ that people adopt for day jobs, cheeriness with the neighbour, compliance with the eejit boss or whatever the day scenerio might demand? At night, the mind seems free. You caught something of the core of the issue, I think.

  49. Writing at night right now. Just found this blog and subscribed. Hoping to grow my writerly network!

  50. This is a real interesting thought. I’m not sure why I never thought about it before. When I was pursuing drawing and art, I used to draw exclusively at night. It makes sense that writing at night has the ability to be more productive, but to be honest, I have to write whenever it strikes me, or else I’ll forget it because I have a very very very short-term memory. Important thoughts are sometimes lost between breaths. That’s why a notepad and pen, or smartphone are absolutely necessary for me to complete any writing whatever. My writing day usually looks like 10 minutes here, 2 minutes there,…pull over on side of the road and take 30 sec to write that line, etc.

    No wonder I can’t get anything done 🙂

  51. I always write at night. However, finishing what I start is hard. I get distracted with new shiny ideas so quickly. I can easily slam 10 full size pages for a short story, or even further to 25. But once I’ve achieved 25 pages, I’ve begun to get new ideas. It’s like I have somehow “inceptioned” my own muse.

    1. You get up  with the kids…eat breakfast with them, hug them and send them off to school. THEN YOU GO BACK TO BED. Catch a few winks..and you’ll be ready to go. Greet the kids when they come home…a few hours in the evening. They go to bed, right? Give them a bedtime so that when they grow up, they’ll always resent those nighthawk night-writers who are still getting away with ‘staying up late’! After they go to bed…write the great American Novel. Someone’s got to dot it! Why not you? Best. Happy New Year.

    1. nope, doesn’t. send kid to creche for morning and nap then. or nap when they nap. snatch sleep everywhere whenever you can. then pop them off for night sleep and crack on.

  52. Fantastic!  Thanks!  This was a reminder and refresher.  In my University days I recall doing my best work 10pm – 2am at late night cafes and sometimes at home.  Research done, notes made, tea and snacks and going for it.  Now, 10 years later with my own business and writing webpages, I’m back to that rhythm..  it works and feels good.  One of my best pieces that is bringing the best health and awareness for folks and profits for me is here:  http://www.consciouswater.ca/alkaline-water/alkaline-water-filter/

    Feel the flow ; )

  53. I wrote my first book between the hours of 0500 and 0800. I agree wholeheartedly with what you are saying here.

  54. Wow! Super posting! After reading this, I am feeling rather redeemed. I always wrote at night, but I was told that was due to lack of discipline and general procrastination. But it always felt more natural. 

  55. Please note: The following is to be read, as it was written; with a light-hearted, satirical tone of amusement. There is no genuine rancor in my heart for ‘morning people’. Although they can be strangely annoying. Chuckle. Okay; here we go:

         Have you ever noticed how people who get up early are SO DARNED PROUD OF THEMSELVES?   

         “I got up at 6 a.m. today so…” and then they complete the sentence with a rationalization about why they won’t be participating in life after supper.
    The “I got up at 6 a.m…..7 a.m….(whoopee) or 5 a.m…” part of the sentence,
    usually seems to have a very righteous tone to it;  as if people who get up early and are in bed by 8 p.m., are spiritually more superior than NIGHTHAWKS. Why would folks assume that a = b in this case?

         Why are nighthawks so often subtly disapproved of by the ‘morning people’? It’s as if the early risers assume themselves to be naturally superior to nighthawks,  just because they are in their pajama’s with their faces scrubbed by 7:30 at night?

        “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Maybe; if you’re an organic farmer. Lots of late night writers ended up healthy, wealthy and wise. Well, except for all those famous dead, white writer-guys who were brilliant, but also unapologetic boozers with messed up personal lives. You know: Faulkner, Steinbeck, Mowatt, etcetera. Except for those guys, some of who knocked themselves off, or died of alcoholism. They weren’t healthy. But the rest of we nighthawks are not all boozehounds with no love , wisdom or pennies in our lives! Some writers make more than folks who work 40-50 hours a week their entire adult life.

    I can think of ONE anyway. J. K. Rowlings!! Uh…is her middle initial ‘K’? See…you’re only famous for a minutes, but she’ll still be rich. And she wrote through the night sometimes. So why do morning doves look down their beaks at we night hawks? Well, I think I have an answer:
    It’s  ENVY, I tell you! They are jeolous of and resent those of us who are ‘getting away with it’.  In every adult there is an inner child who wants to ‘stay up later’! 

    “Just five more minutes? Please Dad?”

    “Mommy! Can I get a drink of water?”  Anything, when you’re a kid to stay awake a few more minutes.

    And here are the writers, pecking away at our keys into the late night and wee morning hours…staying up waaaay past our curfews! HA!

    Mo Pigeon. A recalcitrant night turtle-dove! 

  56. I fell in love with the “graveyard” many years ago while working for Kinko’s. If it were not for the family I would still be doing something during those hours besides sleeping. As it is, I am still often up late or early enough that it was like staying up all night.

  57. Hey Jeff,
    Good thoughts here.  I’m working on the 3am to 6 shift.  I’m a morning person and my brain is fuzz late at night.  But I wake up with it clicking like a ticker tape.  
    Thanks for the encouragement.
    Eric Deeter

  58. I almost always write at night. Occasionally I’ll do a few pages during the day, but only if inspiration strikes and I need to get the words down. I usually start writing around midnight and write until 4 a.m., though I have been known to still be writing when the sun comes up.

  59. This is full of awesome. I work an 8 – 5 job. Sometimes the only time to write is from 2am to 4am, when I have insomnia. Weekends (after gardening, eating, enjoying the family) are also good writing times. But by 10:30pm, I’m usually asleep…but I will look at changing my schedule…

  60. I am increasingly finding that doing an all nighter each week, certainly seems to work better for me. I don’t edit or re-read through my stuff – I do that when I’m rested. I don’t know why, there’s something in it that just helps me get it done. It’s now 5.42am I’m shattered, but I feel somehow, the 7am deadline I’ve given myself, makes me far more productive.

    The distractions are fewer, no-one is around on the forums I frequent, the online newspapers slowdown and the only emails I get are junk I get to rest during the day. There’s nothing like that 6 am feeling.

    I don’t know if it’s any good for you, but I guess it’s working for me at the moment

  61. I have always been a night owl, and I find a lot of my thoughts come rushing into my head between 11:00 pm to bedtime.
    Anyway, this was most significant during my middle school. I had a crush on a boy in my class, and every night, I would think of the details of that day about his glances or smiles, his talks and his acts, and I would think of various evident proving that he likes me too. I would also think about how I could give him to understand that I like him, and what we could do if we were a couple.

    As the chores in middle school are not that heavy (I am a Chinese student, so you can imagine the pressure of everyday studies we have), I kept a journal in which I wrote about my thoughts and emotional changes, my dreams and everyday excitements. And I would write it almost everyday after I finished my homework, and before bed. I think maybe it’s because life in middle school was so fascinating that I had so much to write about, and it’s because at night I can really think about my feelings and write about it with a secret smile that nobody has to see.

    Now I am a high school student applying for a university in the U.S, and I choose this time of night to write my essays. I still occasionally read my middle school diaries( I stop writing diaries after I went on to high school) and it feels great to experience all that feeling again as what I had written in late nights so vivid and so honest.

  62. I LOVE writing at night! Like you said, it is my most creative and most productive time of day. Part of it (I think, anyway) is that I’m so tired that my normal perfectionistic inhibitions are gone, so I can just put down whatever is in my head at the moment. That’s also why I write when I’m sick. And you know what? Usually that ‘word vomit’ is some pretty brilliant stuff. Funny how that works.

  63. I definitely agree. It’s actually a lot easier for me to write in the evening because my mind us not on food. I just can’t get anything done on an empty stomach.

  64. Amazing. I knew I was right. I do have a tendency to misspell and repeat words, but that’s why you never do a final draft at night! I agree though: I am much more eloquent and create better content at night.

  65. My best time of the day is the morning after breakfast. I simply don’t write well at night. Ideas are fresh to me more in the morning than at night.

    Tack on the fact that I work in TV where your shift is always changing. I am slowly working my way into a 5am-1pm shift, which would most likely force me to write in the afternoon.

    To be honest, I don’t believe there’s a right time that fits everyone. It has to be a time you can be comfortable with. I find setting a schedule day after day to write works better. Yes, I am one of those schedule freaks.

  66. At night the atmosphere is more relaxed and some time student don’t do well under pressure. The second main think is less interruption.

  67. Before I had a family and a day job, I would write late night. They were outstandingly productive times- no internet to distract, no cable and TV stations tended to either sign off or just run infomercials. Didn’t leave much other than writing.

  68. I’ve always gotten into the habit of writing in the day for some reason. It’s just what I’ve always done, but lately I’ve been wanting to try something new and see if I can get even more accomplished free of the daily burdens of schoolwork, barking dogs wanting to be let out and other stresses. Who knows? Maybe it will work for me too!

  69. “Early birds get all the credit. Research indicates that morning people tend to be more active and goal oriented. So does that mean night owls are at a disadvantage? Research by Satoshi
    Kanazawa and colleagues at the London School of Economics and Political
    Science suggests no. The group discovered significant differences in
    sleep preferences and found that people with higher IQs are more likely to be night owls.
    They found an evolutionary shift from being active in the day towards
    nightly pursuits and that those individuals who preferred to stay up
    late demonstrated “a higher level of cognitive complexity.” Researchers
    from Belgium and Switzerland studying sleep habits found that early risers needed more rest than their nocturnal counterparts and didn’t focus as well later in the day as those who slept in.”

    So take THAT, morning people!

    1. Morning people tend to be more goal oriented, but night people are more creative. Plus everyone tends to be most creative when tired. I wish I could name the sites and magazines where I read this though.

  70. I enjoy writing during the hours of 12-4am because it creates a positive outlet for the nightly feelings of melancholy and loneliness.

  71. As an early bird who requires 7 hours of sleep minimum, I probably would do better writing from 6:30-11 pm. This article has inspired me to go back to substitute teaching and tutoring though. As a fiction writer, I need to interact with people. It’s a fact that none of the great novelists were hermits–except maybe Proust.

    1. Actually, several were hermits. Poe, Hemingway, and many others. But I understand your reasoning.

  72. I myself aren’t really a “writer” as I’m a minority and can’t do it as a profession… yet. but I’ve always loved to write stories that are sometimes hundreds of pages long, and I agree, writing at night is much easier, for whatever reason. I guess it’s just easier to focus, and your mind is more active (funny how that works). again, being a minority, I’m still being watched over by parents, and they don’t approve of me writing at night, even though it’s really the only time I *can* write…

  73. I like to write first drafts at night. Some great and creative content comes out then. But editing and planning needs to be done during the day when I am most alert.

  74. I have always liked to write at night, considering I realized the time I was about to actually sleep, -I don’t know why- I found myself more ‘creative’. I feel you are more creative at dark or in dark. When I’m trying to go to sleep, and I’m rolling around in bed, I just ‘wonder’. Maybe because of the silence, or maybe the darkness and comfort, I’m not sure, it’s just… natural.

  75. I don’t write at night, should say I find it nigh on impossible. I get up between 2-4am and write until my kids get up at 6:00-6:30am, then if I have the time and energy I put more work in later in the day. My days are too full and evenings hectic and I don’t have the luxury of getting up at 10am after sleeping in. I write with nothing in my system but 2, maybe 3 cups of black coffee and I feel so excited about going to bed at night to repeat the process. No one is awake to bother me 3am, even my baby who still feeds on demand might have a feed and go back to sleep. I am productive at that time and my writing turns out best in the mornings.

    I would say the generalization that all great writers write at night is false. Charles Dickens wrote in the morning, and I’d say he was a great writer.

  76. This was a refreshing read! It’s 7:20am now and I still haven’t slept, I’ve been writing all night! I tried to sleep and couldn’t, so I decided to just get up, make coffee and embrace the night! Recently I’ve been hard on myself trying to get back to a ‘normal’ schedule like the family I live with, feeling I’m disapproved of because I stay up late and wake up late. It has been internalized and I feel bad about myself sometimes like I’m doing something wrong or not good enough.

    But then I realized, I’m not awake because I have issues, I’m awake because I’m Fucking inspired! My most potent writing has almost always come thought in the middle of the night, and usually by accident. I’ll be trying to sleep then it rushes through and I get up to catch it and channel it through. Usually when I read it during the day I think, Damn, I wrote that? Where did that come from! I’ve been featured in a newsletter for me work, and when they give me the topic, the best strategy for me has been to digest it during the day for a bit, then it will come knocking at night as soon as it’s ready! I agree that it comes through more creatively at night because we are more relaxed, its peaceful and quiet and there are no distractions like there are during the hustle of the day.

    I figured I wasn’t alone and that maybe the night time are the magic hours for me, since I’ve been a night owl my whole life! I guess it’s much healthier to embrace it, create a sacred container and space for the words to come through instead of resist and try to be on the majority of the worlds schedule.

    It really comes down to tapping into our own unique flow and owning it without apology, so open up the space to do our most potent work!

    Lots of love,


  77. I write at night all the time. Usually five 15-25 minute sprints before bed. If I have any other ideas after that I jot down the idea but stop myself and go to bed. The next morning I start writing more to it while I get ready for school.

  78. I used to write at night, it’s a good time when you need depressing scenes, but i was blown away at what things i wrote straight out of bed. my goodness. changed my life.

  79. The main moment where I have darkness surrounding me and complete silence is when I can actually sit down, stop moving around, type what comes to mind. I’m very much a night owl. Like most, I go to be so late. I can survive on the minimum of 4 hrs of sleep. 4 am is the latest. I wake up at noon or just before. No one to text or call me. No apartment neighbors yelling at each other outside or kids stomping around upstairs.


    During the day, I watch my favorite shows. Sometimes my dreams/nightmares from the other night are my inspiration. I know its obvious I’m not the only one but I’m glad I’m not alone in this.

  80. I find it as more quiet and peaceful. When i write at this hour, i found myself beimg more creative. Night writing u wont have anything else diverting your mind and u can actually concentrate and open up ur mind more…
    Moreover at night i cant go out from my house. Restricted… lol

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