Writing in the Morning Versus Night Debate

The age-old debate: Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you prefer to write early in the morning before people wake up, or would you rather write late at night in peace and tranquility? When is the best time to write?

Let’s settle the morning versus night debate for good.

Why you should write in the morning

Here are some of the most common reasons why people decide to write in the morning.

  • Because science says your brain works best in the morning.
  • Because there won’t be any distractions if you wake up early enough because everyone will be sleeping, as will their phones.
  • Creativity is said to be at its highest during and after sleep, so if you sleep at night, this makes writing in the morning an optimal time for creativity.
  • We have the most willpower in the morning.
  • A fun one: Because Ernest Hemingway, a well-known American writer, swore by writing in the morning.

Why you should write at night

Not all people are able to write late at night because they have to be up for work early in the morning, or have other obligations. Here are some reasons why you should write at night.

  • As with writing early in the morning, everyone will likely be asleep.
  • Most people won’t bother you after traditional work hours, especially late at night.
  • You might find inspiration from the day you just had, and you also might be less stressed because everything has been completed for the day.
  • A spooky one: Horror writer H.P. Lovecraft did his writing at night.

The solution

While our circadian rhythm dictates how we feel throughout the day and many experts will claim it’s important to do creative work early in the morning, the solution to the writing in the morning versus night debate is this: Apply the above principles to your own life.

Everyone’s circumstances are different. Likewise, everyone wakes up at different times and has a circadian rhythm based on that.

However, it’s important to write with minimal distractions and when you feel most alert and ready to write. Some people can’t write until they get done with all of their work, so they write at night.

It can take more than 20 minutes to refocus after you’ve been distracted. Today, when we hold tiny computers in our hands, and social media and apps ding constantly in the background, we can get distracted easily and frequently. The answer can be as simple as writing when these distractions are less frequent.

For some people, that’s early in the morning. For others, it’s late at night. Some people might also claim it’s in the afternoon, but phone calls, meetings, and interruptions could be more prevalent since many people operate on 9-to-5 schedules, from dental care specialists to marketing office workers.

While it’s OK to try out new writing times when you’re first starting out, and to change up your schedule based on your circumstances in life, it’s also essential to build a habit of writing at the same time every day (or the days you do write).

You have to decide when you want to—and can—write. After all, you might work at an outdoor power equipment store and decide to do your work early in the morning or late at night. Your job could decide this debate for you.

This debate isn’t as simple as saying everyone should wake up at 4 a.m. and begin writing because that’s not realistic for everyone. More of something might sound better, as does writing early in the morning, but you shouldn’t stop writing if you can’t achieve those time frames. Pick a time you can stick to and go with it.

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