Writing at Night

I have always been a morning writer. That’s what I tell myself: I am most creative first thing in the morning and that is that.

But…

Last night I was writing when it was dark outside. I could see the night through the windows—the lit-up buildings across the way, what little could be caught of the night sky above them. The world seemed quieter somehow, more distant. There was a hush in my writing spot, and my fingers seemed to move faster as if no one could see me.

There is a short piece in issue 3 of A Public Space by David Levi Strauss about night writing. He says that, for him, writing at night:

“… forces one back to oneself, again and again, to clarify and be specific. My night writing began as a revolt against the normal order of things, a perverse protest. But now I write at night for the same reason wolves hunt then—because that’s when I have the greatest advantage.”

Last night, I had just a taste of this. But I left my writing spot before it got too late. Now I am missing the intensity I felt then. I can’t seem to get back that feeling with the sun in my way. I wonder… What kinds of things would I write if I did it at night rather than first thing in the morning? What if I stayed up all night, what would find its way onto the page then?

I have a feeling it might be different. And now I am curious to find out.

7 Comments

  1. please update us, nova! i too, am a morning writer and i wonder what i might do if i were to write at night (well, this is all hypothetical now, but you know what I mean).

  2. I’m bad in the mornings, and my brain gives up about 9pm. I have to just hope for a few hours’ of lucidity about the middle of the day… Good luck with your night writing, though. Whatever works for you is good.

  3. Oh, it didn’t work out the way I’d hoped. It’s 6:08 pm, and my brain is just… mushy.

    Maybe I’ll try next week?

    I AM looking forward to tomorrow morning, though!

  4. I envy you morning writers! Writing at night really can be exhilarating, what with time seeming to stand still. For some reason, time moves so fast for me in the morning. What’s the secret, then, on how to focus in the morning, please?

  5. I guess for me it’s the fact that time is moving faster. I can’t fool around like I have all the time in the world, because I don’t. At most I have three hours before I have to leave for work. Most often, I have two hours, or less. It becomes an intense period of focus because I want to get as much out of the time as I can. Also, I write on weekday mornings at a Starbucks, and I refuse to pay for their T-Mobile Internet access, so I can’t go online.

    Weekends, I am somewhere else with Internet access, and as we know that’s a whole other story.

    You know, I guess writing in the morning before work reminds me of being under a strict deadline. I love a good deadline, and having to be at my desk at 10am acts as one.

    But at night, I wouldn’t have only a few hours. I’d have all the time in the world it would seem… I really want to try it. I think it would help if I slept in so I wasn’t zonked out by 10pm?

    Oh, but you asked for the secret to how to focus in the morning. For me? It’s a grande skim mocha. Yep, helps every time.

  6. I have always operated better at night for just about everything. When I saw the 1995 remake of Little Women when I was a kid and Jo said something like, “At night my mind comes alive…” I was like–yes! That’s it! That’s me! I do all my writing at night from 11 to as early as 6 or 7 in the morning. I’m lucky that my paying job (heh) totally accommodates this kooky schedule.

    But I find people who feel creative in the morning totally fascinating, because it just seems so impossible for me. Anyone who can automatically gets cool points. Are you going to give night-writing a try this week or in the near future again??

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