If Only I Could Wake Up at Three AM…

Do you ever feel that the writing bug (or any creative bug for that matter) bites hardest when you don’t have time to work on?

I certainly do, and I’m feeling the brunt of this phenomenon right now. I sort of knew this would happen; I know how I work, and it seems that I always want to write most when I am unable to. My schedule is a little wonky this week, putting most of my shifts right where my key writing times usually tend to be. I’m most productive in the wee hours of the morning, so I’m still able to squeeze in a little bit of writing work before going to paying-me-actual-money work, but I know that, when I return, I’ll be absolute rubbish about picking it back up where I left off. In the evening, I just want to chill and relax.

I’ve considered switching my schedule to involve only closing shifts, but the problem with that is that I hate closing shifts. Just as I write better in the earlier hours of the day, I sell tea better in the earlier hours, too. It’s truly a conundrum, and one with which I’m sure others can sympathize. It extends well beyond just writing, too. It seems that, whenever you can’t do something, that is when you desire to do it the most.

Knowing the nature of this beast, the days I do have to work on my writing (Thursday and Saturday…I have a Saturday off that I didn’t request off; blowing my mind right now), I will probably slack off and piss around. I’m hoping that’s not the case. I don’t want it to be the case, but just as I usually want to work when I’m busy, I also tend to mostly work when I’m busy. If I’m not, things tend to fall to the wayside, pushed to the corner by laziness. Should I manage to hold this inspiration until then, though, I should have the rough draft of Bowlful of Bunnies ready for beta readers by the end of Thursday.

I think that’s part of why I’m so eager to work, yet I am blocked by other obligations. The end is near with BoB. It’s so close, I can almost touch it, but, of course, there are just a few obstacles in my way preventing my reach from being entirely successful right now. But soon enough….soon….

Also, many thanks to Ellen Maria for following the blog! Welcome aboard! Good to have you with us!



  1. It’s probably just one of those hazards of being a writer. When I do get a small pocket of time that’s unexpected, I always know I should jump on it and start writing… but sometimes I feel like I’m going to fall over from exhaustion (the best writing doesn’t naturally come out at these times). Sometimes just sitting down and enjoying a book or magazine is the best course. But yes, I carry my little notebook in case there are things that I think of at weird times (like at the grocery store).

  2. Apparently this is a common problem. I usually feel most inspired right at the point where I have to chose between a few hundred words of writing and at least a decent night’s sleep. If I didn’t have to sleep, I’d probably have half a dozen novels finished by now.

    Ah well, I guess it just makes those snatches of pure inspiration more amazing. 😉

    • It really does. When you’re on a roll, you’re definitely on a roll! And that adrenaline rush of being able to squeeze in some good work despite being busy is fantastic.

  3. Often the best ideas pop into mind when thinking of something else. It’s like the random thing pops up but then your mind says, oh that will work this way.

    I’m finding this happen a lot whilst I’m supposed to be keeping an eye on my son, so it’s a constant battle. At the moment night time is only for sleep, but I used to work well late at night when I was younger (and had no wife or child).

    • I think it’s just that the brain is already active, so of course it’s got the momentum to make the best ideas when you’re least able to execute them!

      I used to work late into the night, too, but I just can’t anymore. No kids (I doubt cats count), but I had a job for a year that required me to wake up at four am, so now I am such a morning person. I can’t complain, though, except on days I don’t have much of a morning…

  4. When, several years ago, I resolved to be a writer, I very consciously chose bartending as my occupation because I felt it would best facilitate my writing lifestyle. I wasn’t really wrong: I read and write during the day, I work at night. Always open and close. To be candid, it’s a pretty serious job, much harder to break into than I’d initially anticipated and a lot of work, but the money is good. In fact, I got this big wad of cash burning a hole in my pocket right now.

    I never keep a notebook, though I do sometimes write things down on cocktail napkins. For instance, I have here a napkin beside me that says, rather mysteriously:

    Snippet of dialogue:

    Man: Are you bilingual?

    Woman (a prostitute?): Oh, sure. I’ll do it with anyone.

    • I love that snippet. And there’s so many places it could go, too

      The good thing about my job is that, really, despite this week, the odds of me not having some of my favorite time to write are pretty slim and rare. So I do have the opportunity to spend a couple days a week where writing is my job for about six hours or so. It’s just a matter of getting through the days that conflict, and hoping the inspiration’s still there once I do.

  5. Hmm… I wonder (especially after ready Readytochangenow’s comment) if there is also a seasonal trigger in some of this. As a terminal night owl, I find it so much easier to bear going to bed at 4am and waking at 6:30 when the sun is shining (even with black out curtains on the windows) at 5:30am… Not to say I don’t feel exhausted. But… it helps those stolen minutes when I can catch up on my writing and reading.

    You’ll find a system that works for you. You’ve done these early mornings enough to fix your sleep schedule. You’ll fix the writing time too.

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