I read this article on cracked.com yesterday, entitled “5 things you can do right now to be instantly smarter.” (Link given if you want to read. Please note that cracked.com uses language some might find offensive.) One item–number 5–really got me thinking, in terms of when it might be most productive for us to write. It says:
Work at the worst time of day, with the worst kind of people.
It cites a bunch of experiments scientists have run, and it uses this basis for its conclusion:
- When we’re at ease and with lots of energy–at the top of our game– our brains are really good at continuing the processes and doing the tasks we tackle on a regular basis, but we resist breaking out of the box. To cite the article: Your well-rested, socially comfortable brain is pretty good at thinking inside the box — accessing that sensible place that appreciates old jokes and rejects ideas that seem too “weird.”
- When we’re tired, frustrated, out of it, annoyed, that’s when our brains adapt to and even embrace new and crazy ideas. Ideas that, in a more relaxed, comfortable state, would seem way too weird. Again, to quote: [When you’re out of your element] is when you decide that you might as well chase whatever off-the-wall notion pops into your head, regardless of how tap-dancingly ridiculous it may appear. You start following those threads to their conclusion, until boom, you suddenly have a great idea that would never have occurred to you if you were operating during your optimal work hours with the people you like hanging out with, because your brain’s anti-nonsense detectors would’ve been too strong.
This really, really got me to thinking. I, for one, have always been a morning person. I’ve always made a point of trying to get my writing done in the morning, as soon as possible after I wake up, because I’m up and rearing to go, and I drain more and more of energy and mental capacities as the day wears on.
Now, I feel that it could make a bit of sense to adapt my approach to what I learned from reading that article…. If the scientific basis of the experiments outlined hold water, then it seems that pretty much every aspect of the writing process could benefit from me spending a little time at night working.
- PLOTTING/OUTLINING: This one’s obvious. I don’t plot/outline all that much, but when I do…. I mean, that’s as creative as the creative process gets. And if being out of it helps you tap into your creative faculties, it’s worth spending some time late at night trying to figure out what the heck I’m going to do in the sequel to “The Esclavan Abductions.” (Right now I have no stinking idea and I’m stuck with a war to explain and end.)
- FIRST DRAFTS: If you’re less inhibited creatively when you’re out of it, then that could be a good time to write because you’re less likely to let that blasted inner editor interfere with your progress.
- EDITING: I’ve said before that editing is all about recognizing the problems your draft has, then finding creative ways to solve them. Yeah, creative ways. Apparently being exhausted and drained and at wit’s end is good for being creative. 🙂
Anyways…. I just wanted to share that info and my reflections on it with you guys. For whatever they’re worth! I personally don’t think I’m going to stop writing in the morning. But I hope to make more of a point of adding some late night sessions too and see what comes of it!