Night Owl vs. Lark

Megan Norris Jones

Megan Norris Jones

I’ve been having trouble finding time to write lately. It’s a common problem—one I’ve solved before and will probably have to solve again as life changes and what used to work works no longer. There’s just not enough time for everything I need and want to do. But writing is important, so I’m setting aside time for it.

But what time? I can’t seem to lay claim to any time during the day on a regular basis, so I might have to start treating daytime writing as a lucky bonus. That leaves me either getting up early to write or staying up late to do it.
Night Owl
Pros: The late hours of evening, even the wee hours of the morning, have always been my best time. The house is quiet, and I can do whatever I need to. If I get inspired, I can keep writing—provided I’m willing to do with a little less sleep every now and then.
Cons: The kids are asleep at night, so it’s my time to catch up with my husband while taking care of housework, paying bills, and folding laundry. Not exactly creative stuff, but necessary. In order to write at night, I’ll need to figure out another way to keep my house from descending into chaos and still make time for my husband.
Possible Solution: Housework doesn’t have to be done by magical elves while my daughters sleep. I can do more of it while they’re awake—possibly even helping? And my husband has plenty of paperwork he needs to take care of when he gets home, too. We both have desks in the office. Maybe we can work together for a set amount of time before bed.

Pros: I’ve noticed that extremely productive people get up early in the morning. Perhaps I could increase my own productivity this way? Also, my baby has been waking up for early morning feedings lately. If I’m already up, perhaps I could take the time to write instead of falling back in bed for another hour of sleep. And my husband has to get up early for work, so I could see him in the mornings if we both got up at the same time. Not to mention that if I start my day with my story, my subconscious can stew on it for the rest of the day, potentially helping me out with difficult scenes.
Cons: Getting up early requires discipline when I’m at my lowest level of willpower—that is to say, unconscious. It’s just hard to remember why I thought waking up early was a good idea when my bed feels so soft and snuggly.
Possible Solution: I don’t have to wake up at 5 a.m. for this to work. Morning writing can be a shorter session. And if I stay up after feeding the baby, I will have some time to clear my head and remember how much I love writing without the soft snuggly bed distracting me.

I’m going to give both of these options a try. One will probably work better than the other, but there’s nothing to say I can’t do a little of both. I’ll report my results next time.

How do you schedule writing time in your busy day? What times work best for you?

6 responses to “Night Owl vs. Lark

  1. Over the years, I have tried multiple approaches. Each approach suited my needs at the time. I don’t have to write around naptime anymore because my kids don’t nap anymore, for instance. So my advice is to be flexible. When you find something that works for you, keep at it until it doesn’t work anymore. Then, find something new that works. Good luck!

    • Megan Norris Jones

      Thanks for the encouragement. You’re right about the need for flexibility. Life changes, and we all have to adapt to keep writing a priority.

  2. I’ve always been a lark. My brain seems to work better then, by the evening, I don’t want to think that much. But getting up at o’crack of dark in the morning is getting harder, and harder, and …

    • Megan Norris Jones

      I’ve always admired people who can get up early. I’ve just never been one of them. If I could shift my schedule just a bit, though, I might be able to really increase my productivity–or I might just try unsuccessfully to wake up early every morning and not actually get any writing done. That’s the way it’s looking so far, but I’ll keep setting the alarm.

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