I'm kind of a sleep addict, you see, especially on chilly Sunday mornings in November. I suspect my love of a mid-morning snooze is actually physiological. While I've never had a formal diagnosis, the research I've done into Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome has certainly been enlightening. My body naturally seems to want to stay up late--until one, or two in the morning--and sleep late, too. Given my druthers, I'd never be out of bed before 9:30.
Some might say that I'm just lazy. Maybe that's true. I know that when I was in school, or working 9-5 jobs, I never, ever adjusted to the time change. I'd start out rising optimistically early, but by the second or third week in, I'd feel like an ill-slept shadow of myself--with the bags under my eyes to prove it.
You might wonder what this all has to do with writing. The answer, for me, is everything. When I first started writing, I came upon the same advice over and over again: that in order to write, and be a real writer, one must rise early (at five, six, or seven a.m.! The horror!). With a cup of coffee in hand, the early bird writer can peck out some words without the real, waking world threatening to intrude on the creative process.
Because it's what everyone said one had to do to be a serious writer, I've tried this advice now-and-again (like jobs that start at 8:30 a.m., it never seems like such a terrible idea . . . at first). And it always winds up the same way: on the first day, I do fine. I get out 500 words, or maybe a thousand. On the second day, the words come slower. By the third or fourth, inspiration hits . . . at eleven o'clock at night. I churn out several thousand words in a flurry, then, the next morning, I oversleep.
So much for an early morning writing habit.
I suppose the advice to write early if you want to write often is like all other writing advice: highly subjective. I much prefer the adage, "write when works for you." That might be a half hour on your lunch break, or late at night during reruns of Degrassi--or maybe you're even one of those strange creatures who actually can write early in the day! That's fine, too.
As long as you make a habit out of it, so long as you carve out regular space in your life for filling up the page, then you're a writer. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.