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The Magic Hour(s)

4AM is totally the best time to write.

Or is it 3PM?

10 o' clock at night?

7:30 in the morning (blogger's note: *shudder*)?

The answer: none of the above. Well, maybe one of the above - for you, at least.

Once, in a nonstop three-week period, this blogger here got an entire round of rewrites done for her first book almost entirely within the hours of 11PM and 6AM. And I wouldn't really hit that manic writing stride until 2AM. It kind of sucked waking up at 2PM every morning (who am I kidding, it was awesome), but it was worth it for those moments at 6AM when I could finally crawl into bed, having finished a chapter - nay, vanquished and triumphed over a chapter - and listen to the quiet yet incredible sounds of a whole world waking up outside my window, a world populated mostly by songbirds. And a blanket of white-golden sunlight would be draped over me as I fell asleep... (Sorry, got a little nostalgic there!)

Time was a constantly-felt presence during those weeks. And time helped get stuff done. There was something about writing at 4AM that absolutely did not allow for procrastination - I mean, if you're up at 4AM and on Facebook, it's like, really? But if you're up at 4AM and writing, well, that's intense. That's something. That made me want to keep writing. (Not that there's anything wrong with Facebook at 4AM! It's just a somewhat lonely land...)

Other times are awesome too. Early-morning writing means your mind is empty and not full of the entire day's chatter. Lunchtime writing serves as the perfect break. After-dinner writing gives you an anti-drug to mindless TV reruns. And right-after-the-kids-go-to-bed writing, well, that might be the only time someone gets to write - which makes it the perfect time.

There's also your weirdly innate preference to take into account: some people's creative juices naturally flow in the morning, some in the afternoon, some at night. (You can probably guess which one I am!) 

All musings aside, you could say there really one best time to write: always! Or, you know, right before a deadline.

What's the best time to write (for you)? What's your relationship with time as a writer? Sound off in the comments!
Emilia Plater

Emilia is a YA author who avoids studying, food that isn't covered in cheese, and waking up before 10:30AM whenever possible. A bundle of confusions.

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  1. To be fair to my fiance, I treat writing as a job and only work between 9 and 5, sometimes having to force myself to stop when he gets home from work. I used to hate it, wanting to write at whim but this type of definite schedule forces me to actually work during those hours, putting me under pressure to get stuff done. It also forces me away from the computer and out in the real world which is, in turn, good for my writing. If I could choose, I'd probably start writing around 10pm and go to bed sometime after 3am. That's when I seem to be most creative.

  2. I have trouble writing during the week, because my paying job schedule can be so erratic and I like to have hours set aside to lose myself in a MS. The weekends are my best writing time. About 10 years ago, I could write all night, no problem, but now I need my sleep or else I get cranky :)

  3. I like writing in little spurts of 15-30 minutes throughout the day, whenever I've got a little time. Sitting up all night to do it all in one go sounds awful to me, but to each his own.

  4. During the school year, it was before school.

    Unfortunately, that went out the window during the summer, and I'm yet to find a new "magic hour".

  5. I used to be a night writer, doing my best work between sunset and 2am. Then I went through a school year of writing literally whenever I could: breakfast, lunch, in a coffee shop between classes, right before bed.

    Now that it's summer, I've found my magic hour has changed. I write the most in the afternoon after lunch until around 5.

  6. I don't have the will to be a night writer. I'm usually an early morning or afternoon or early evening writer. I try to be flexible with it, because of my work schedule.

    I tend to associate night writing with research papers, all nighters, and work I procrastinated on until the last moment. Night writing doesn't make me happy. :-(

  7. If I had my choice, I would stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning. But as I have to get up at 4am every day for work, I've become a late afternoon/evening writer. I usually start writing about 4pm and quit around 9pm. It'd be nice to just stay home and write all day...

  8. I only started seriously writing again fairly recently, and I've discovered that I write better towards the end of my hours in the office. It's weird, but I can spew out about 1000 words during the last hour or so of work.

    I also tend to be more awake and alert enough to write in the middle of the night.

  9. I work far better if I get up early than if I stay up late. I feel better (and my health is far better) if I go to bed at 9 PM and get up at 5 AM, rather than bed at 6 AM and up at 2 PM. (I feel sick just thinking about what that would do to me…)

    Granted, I do have some health things that mean being up until midnight or 2 AM is often just asking to catch everyone else's illness for the next month.

    Even in high school, I'd go to bed and set my alarm for early—well, earlier—if I had to more get homework done. I couldn't do math after 8 PM. I would literally go from missing 1–2 problems of every 30 to only getting 1–2 right.

    But again, that's me. I also get this weird "I want to clean!" bug at 6 in the morning, but I can rarely indulge it, thanks to the night owls I live with. ^_^

  10. I work at a school, so I had to make time to write.I found that I'm brain-dead after school. I focus best on 2 cups of coffee at 6am. Yeah, it totally sucks, but it's true.

  11. Summer is fantastic because I am the quintessential latchkey child. I like to stay up until 2 AM, sniff out the atmosphere, and determine whether it's a joyous writing night (rare) or a plotting night (more likely). By 2 AM, I'm so tired that my daytime inhibitions have long flown the coop (for some reason, I've written two college essays during two 2 AM sessions after weeks of putting them off).

    Teens Writing For Teens


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Item Reviewed: The Magic Hour(s) Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Emilia Plater