Larks and Night Owls

Sep 15, 2014 | Better Writing

“It’s just not working.”

Jim was frustrated. He had a book that he wanted to write despite a demanding work and family schedule. He decided to get up an hour earlier and write. After all, he’d read that a lot of authors did that. His results were different.

“Gosh,” he said, “I get up and make the coffee, then I go to my office. I think I’m ready to write, but my mind won’t kick in. I sit there for an hour and produce nothing, zero, zip, nada.”

Sound familiar? If you’ve picked a time of day to write and it’s not working, maybe you’ve picked the wrong time for you.

We don’t all work well at the same time

Some people bound out of bed ready to work. I’m one of them. When I hit the desk, I’m ready to go. I’m a lark.

Other people wake up slowly, but gather steam as the day progresses. They do their best work at night, often after others have gone to sleep. They’re night owls.

Which are you?

If you have trouble deciding, think back to college. Were you the one who and studied deep into the night? You could be a night owl.

Or were you the one who went to bed and got up early to study? You could be a lark.

Don’t fight Mother Nature

If your natural rhythm prepares you for your best work late at night, you won’t work well in the early morning no matter how much self-discipline you have. Don’t fight Mother Nature. Adapt your work schedule instead.

If that doesn’t work

Switching to late night writing worked miracles for Jim. Instead of struggling to get up early, he started work when his wife went to bed. Then he was wide awake and ready to write.

Switching writing times works wonders for a lot of people, but not for everyone. If it doesn’t, experiment. Try different schedules until you find one that works for you.