I’m a great believer that there’s no time like the present. This goes for writing just as much as any other activity. The best time to be doing it is now. And however much you want to analyse it, agonise about it or make excuses for it, there’s really only one way to do it, which is one word at a time. Write a word. Then write another one. And just keep going. Easy.
Now this is all very well, but if we’re being strictly honest, any of us who indulge in any kind of creative pursuit – be it painting, sculpture, music or scribbling down chains of words – do find certain conditions preferable to others. Maybe we need peace and quiet. A certain quality of light. Caffeine, or some other drug, might feel like it either loosens us up or energises us – or even both.
And there may be a certain time within our innate daily rhythms when we feel more able to connect with our creative selves. For some people, this is early in the morning when they’re still fresh – first thing, even. Before the brain has had chance to fill up and over-burden itself with trivia, reminders and other quotidian trash.
Not me. I love the idea of this, of springing out of bed and finding myself immediately faced by a blank page, ripe for filling up with whichever words come first. But if I were to tell you that it is currently – as I type out these thoughts – fourteen minutes to midnight, you’ll get an inkling as to the part of the day in which my juices tend to be at their runniest. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that this is the only time of day when I either can or do write. It’s just the time when it feels most natural. When I can even start to feel just a little unstoppable.
And it’s really bloody inconvenient.
It wouldn’t be, of course, if I didn’t have a job to hold down that required me to be in certain places at certain times, some of them mornings. It also wouldn’t be if I wasn’t someone who really enjoyed daylight, and being outdoors in the fresh air. And preferred to be asleep when it’s dark, rather than wasting daylight hours in bed, especially those precious winter ones.
The fact is, I’m not a night owl at all – except when it comes to writing.
I remember how during my days as a student I would find the period between eight and eleven at night the most conducive to writing essays and assignments. Not conducive to having any kind of social life worth having though.
So if anything, my optimum writing time seems to be getting later as I get older.
I suppose an obvious solution to this – if one is really needed – is to write a bestseller and be able to make a living as a writer full-time. Quit the nine-to-five schedule and invent your own.
Leave it with me…