4 a.m. is my prime time

A few years ago when I had to crank out a lot more words to make a living than I do now, I would sometimes get up at 2:30 a.m. to get them done by 10 or 11. That was no fun if I didn’t manage to go to sleep before 11 p.m. or so. Why did I do that? Deadlines and procrastination, or at least I thought.

I do procrastinate a number of things, believe me. But I think the odd hours were less from procrastination than from them being something my body prefers. Years and years ago I worked the midnight shift as an auditor at a hotel. I did that for the better part of 7 years, so I was used to working from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. at minimum. Double shifts were occasional, and for about a year I worked all of the shifts as an assistant shift manager. I preferred the midnight shift.

I guess I still do, because if I get up between 2:30 and 5 a.m., I can get a lot more accomplished than I can during the same amount of hours spent working in the afternoon. Late evening/night is also fairly productive for me. But from about 11 a.m. until dinnertime, I can write fiction, but if I try to look at a spreadsheet or non-fiction topics I need to cover, I discover that I need to clip my toenails or dust the baseboards. I can write fiction all afternoon, but that feels like play most of the time. (Editing, for the record, is probably an early morning job. First drafts are different.)

I woke at 4 this morning because of storms, and felt that “get it done” feeling I rarely feel later in the day. I guess it’s time to stop fighting my natural rhythms. I’m fortunate that I work from home and am able to do that.

Now I just need to find that magical time of day that makes scrubbing the tub and washing dishes easier. I’m think it’s in some alternate Hogwarts-like universe that doesn’t register on my plain old 24-hour clock. I do not think this time period exists in my realm of being.

A recommendation that has nothing to do with writing: This is something I rarely do, but I’m excited. I became a fan of Mike Eldred many years ago. He has an amazing tenor voice, and has had a wonderful career. He’s a huge talent whom I could listen to all the time. Apparently, he’ll be releasing a new album sometime this year. Go to his video page and play “The Eagle and the Hawk.” You will be blown away by his voice and what he brings to the song. If you like his voice, and you like broadway music, his album ME is fantastic. It’s one of my go-to playlists and has been for years, along with Howard McGillin’s album (McGillin is the longest-running Phantom on Broadway, in case you don’t know). I can’t wait for his new release. Go support the arts and buy one of his older ones!

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 at 4:55 pm and is filed under Freelance Writing Business, Personal-ish. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.


  1. June 16th, 2011 | Madeline Mora-Summonte says:

    If you find ever that magical time of day for housecleaning…don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. 🙂

  2. June 16th, 2011 | Shelley says:


    I’m afraid to even search, really.

    If the matter and anti-matter come into contact, it will destroy all of existence!

    Don’t feed them after midnight!


    It’d be like that.

  3. June 21st, 2011 | Samuel Mae says:

    I find i ‘wake up’ creatively between 10.30 pm and 1 am Unfortunately, having a day job makes keeping that kind of schedule difficult.

    My ideal schedule would be to write between those above hours, sleep in ’til about 9 am, write until 1 pm, sleep for another couple hours, doddle about doing other stuff until after dinner, then kick back into writing from about 7 pm.

    It’s not going to happen anytime soon, but i can always dream, right? 😀

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