Finding Your Best Time To Write



I’ve been pondering how to find time to write, and my best time to write. I guess we all struggle with that. For me, the demands of being a mom with a full-time job and a long commute make it hard to get any time in, let alone my best time.

For me, part of it is just staying in that creative part of my brain. I frequently refer to this as story brain, keeping the story I’m working uppermost in my brain as I go throughout the day, focused on the story even though I’m doing other things.

Sometimes I worry that doing that makes me less present in my life but I can clearly remembering sitting in my camp chair outside this summer while my daughter played on her swing set and I wrote in my journal, both recording the moment and coming up with a piece of the short story I was writing. So maybe it isn’t staying in story brain but just creative mode. It definitely feels different from normal, going about the routine of the day, brain.

Another part is scheduling. My husband gave me a book for Christmas that he heard about on the Chiot’s Run organic blog, Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind. It’s a collection of essays on the topic, edited by Jocelyn K. Glei. I’ve started reading a bit of it every day. Just the simple admonishment to do the thing that is most important first in your day instead of trying to get all the other little things out of the way first, is so obvious and yet counter to my typical thinking.

I can definitely say that I’m actually a morning person. Oh, not that I want to get up in the morning, but when I do get up early, in the neighborhood of six o’clock, I find myself feeling better and being so much more productive. When my daughter was going to sleep at midnight and getting up at 9 am with her father, I couldn’t do that. I was lucky to get myself to work on time. I love having my husband on first shift because it means I can get to bed earlier and get up at 6 am. I know it won’t last but I’m loving it and plan to make the most of it.

My challenge then is to make time for the morning pages (doing The Artist’s Way with a workshop group) and then write creatively. I can get up and do the morning pages then write in my head on the way to work and just use the voice recorder to catch anything I’ve worked through enough in my head to bother recording. That’s my best plan so far. Otherwise, I’m just going to have to write at night, which is fine but it’s definitely not my best time to write or my most creative. I’ll just have to edit more.

What are your challenges? How do you get your writing in? What’s your best time to write?


  1. Jnana Hodson said,

    January 4, 2014 at 10:56 am

    It differs for everyone, and much depends on your other daily demands. Some author-mothers, as I’ve heard, manage to work it in throughout the day, though I’d never be able to do that … my mind/soul/flights of fancy just don’t turn so easily.
    When I was working full-time, on a four-day office routine that included a double shift each week, I set aside my Tuesdays for writing, revision, and submissions. Then my schedule changed to five straight nights, and I tried to get in something every morning … late morning, at that … plus part of Saturdays. Now that I’m retired and finally on an early-rising schedule, I try to get all of that taken care of before noon, when I shift into domestic matters.
    Some writers move steadily, with the daily “butt time,” as Bukowski called it. Others go in for a short burst of intense output, like Kerouac’s novel-in-two-weeks … followed by six months of recovery.
    Some, like me, gather scraps of material as the thoughts hit us. Others just sit down and draw from memory or flashes of on-the-spot inspiration.

    • melorajohnson said,

      January 5, 2014 at 11:09 am

      That’s my problem, my “flights of fancy” don’t come to me easily when I’m focused on real life. I’d like a particular time of day but if I can just keep my focus then I can make use of all those ways to write, writing little bits every time I get ten minutes to myself. I have done the short intense with NaNoWriMo and will again. Thanks for sharing your insights!

  2. iBourgie said,

    January 4, 2014 at 10:57 am

    The best time for me to write is in the morning. I keep a notebook by my bed to jot down my ideas. I am a full-time mom, wife, and full-time student. My life is very busy. I write whenever there is a little break even if it is just a few sentences. I always have a good pen and notebook with me at all times. That really helps me.

    I wrote a post about it a while ago if you would like to check it out.

    • melorajohnson said,

      January 5, 2014 at 11:11 am

      I just said to my husband the other day that I might start waking up a half hour early to write. I could probably write right next to him and he wouldn’t wake up, lol. When something hits me I grab a piece of paper at work, jot it down and put it in the pocket of my book bag then clear that out periodically. I’ll check that out, thanks!

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