When you sit down to write, could you be unwittingly sabotaging your efforts? If you force yourself to write during a naturally sluggish part of the day, you could very well be.
Humans don’t run on full power constantly throughout the day. We have periods of energy highs and lows, and that applies to creativity as well. If certain points of the day are more conducive to writing, then pinpointing exactly when they are can make for much more productive writing sessions. How can we do that? Through tracking our creative cycle.
But first of all, why should we keep tabs on our creative ups and downs? Shouldn’t we just pick a time for writing and stick to it? Well, ask yourself this: would you rather struggle to write 200 words in the afternoon, because that’s when you’ve arbitrarily decided you’ll write, or speed on through to 1000 by writing on a morning, first thing after you wake up, when you’re still half in the dream world and feeling particularly creative? I know which one I’d rather do.
Everyone has periods when their energy and creativity are high during the day, just as they have periods of lows. Finding when you’re most energetic and creative and dedicating that time to writing could be just what you need to boost your progress on your WIP, make writing easier and produce better quality work. But how do you find out when this magical time is?
You may already have an idea of when you’re most creative and energetic, but we often have several points in the day when this is particularly the case. If you don’t know when they are for you, it’s worth trying out this method and pinpointing them all.
What will you need to do this? A notepad that you can keep on you all day and a pen.
Track Your Day
Draw up a chart or a table with 24 rows, one for each hour. When you do something that day, write it down in your chart. What time did you wake up? What did you eat for breakfast and when? Lunch? Dinner? And so on. Beside each activity you log, note your energy level after doing it. Did you feel more energised because of it or less?
Once you’ve done this for a few days, you’ll start to get a picture of when your natural energy highs and lows are, as well as the kind of things you do that boost and reduce your energy levels (e.g. after a walk, you may feel more active and creative, while after eating a dessert, you might feel sluggish). Your periods of energy ‘highs’ are prime spots for writing time.
Vary Your Day
Alongside this, try varying your writing time. If you always write on a night, try waking up an hour earlier than usual and write then. Write during your lunch break or after you get home from work/school or on a night, if you don’t usually. Keep track of your energy and creativity levels in your notebook, along with how you felt while writing. Did the words come easily? Did you feel more creative? It may well be that the words flow more easily at a time you had never considered before.
Now that you have an idea of when you feel most energised and creative, set aside that time for writing and build it into your daily routine. Alongside the natural energy high you get at that time, the act of writing then each day will promote focus, discipline and further creativity. There’ll be no stopping you.
When are your creative high points?