bookmark_borderWhen to write



This Is Disruptive
Originally uploaded by Subspace

The Study Hacks blog has a posting about when and how “real” writers write (hattip: Mailund on the Internet), and it makes the following recommendations:

  • Spread out work on an assignment over several days. Coming at it fresh increases its quality.
  • During these days, get up early. Probably earlier than you are used to. Say, around 7 or 8 am. (This means these days will be weekdays, probably early in the week so you can avoid temptations to party the night before).
  • Have a mini-ritual to jump start the day. It should probably involve coffee. Breakfast. Maybe the morning paper. Don’t take too long.
  • Go to the most isolated place possible.
  • To get your mind ready to think, review the last pages you wrote.
  • Work for two or three hours. Then stop.
  • Follow this habit regularly. Don’t write during other times. Don’t write in public places. Don’t start writing the day before.

One flaw I can see is that this was based on a study of professional non-fiction writers, but the blog posting suggests applying it also to other areas such as blogging, and in some of the comments it seems to be seen as applying also to fiction.

However, blogging is often done best once the idea pops into your head, for instance straight after reading an article that you want to say something about. I think a blog that was written for exactly two hours every morning would have a distinctly non-bloggy feel to it.

And while I’m sure many fiction writers are happy to work in a similar fashion, others are known to work differently.

Douglas Adams for instance was known not to write much before the deadline had passed and then to be locked up in a hotel room till he had finished the book.

Also, while this morning pattern suits early risers, I’m sure many people would work better if they scheduled the writing to start at midnight.