Early this morning I had a nightmare/anxiety dream that I had gotten one of my plays selected for the New York Fringe Festival—and it was about The Real Housewives of New Jersey, no less. We were at opening night and I realized, to my horror, that I hadn’t ever given the actors full drafts of the scripts; they only had unfinished scripts. I had no time to print out enough copies for them to take on-stage, so I had to call off the show.
I’m sure that this is a clear metaphor for my fears about my creativity, so psychoanalyze away. But also, someone please shoot me in the face if I ever try to present a play on the Real Housewives. I know that my plays use pop-culture references like Twitter and Leonard Nimoy, but that’s ridiculous.
Nine out of ten writers discussed when during the day they write. All nine worked in the morning. Four also worked during the afternoon. Three worked during night. Only one worked in all three times. Several writers described the afternoon as a mental dead time useful only for exercising and, maybe, editing.
Five out of the ten writers provided a specific start time. The latest was 8:30 am. Four other writers who didn’t give a specific time said, in so many words, “in the morning.” No writer described starting their work in the afternoon or evening. Several did mention that they might also be efficient working very late at night (and sleeping through the day), but that this seems incompatible with being a productive member of society.
—Cal Newport, How to Schedule Your Writing Like a Professional Writer
I saw this on Lena Chen’s blog and was so struck that I had to copy the quote over to my own Tumblr as a constant source of inspiration. I’ve been awful about carving out time to write, because I get into a vicious cycle of “I’m so tired in the morning, I’ll sleep in and go to work… I’m so tired after work, I’ll watch TV or prep for tomorrow’s workday.”
Right now I don’t have the luxury of having “afternoon dead time”—except on the weekends. So I need to stop whining and turn that time over to the plays and comics that are stewing in my head. Someday I look forward to being a full-time writer and being able to spread my writing time around more. Until then, Cal Newport gives me hope.