As anyone with a blog will know, writing is an intensely personal process in every way. At its best, what we write comes from deep within us and reflects our innate values, convictions, and experiences. Yet it is also true that the process of writing is equally personal, and can differ dramatically from one writer to the next. You can look at the routines of several famous writers and be shocked at how little they have in common.
Yet for all these differences, most writers adhere to a few seemingly universal rules. Everyone wants to know how the greats do it, so there are many interviews out there that give us a look into their writing processes. Plenty of famous writers have openly discussed their habits, advice, and general day-to-day routine. If you’re looking to improve your blogging performance, this is a great place to start.
Today we’re going to take a look at what three famous writers have to say about the best time to write, and the optimal work environment for creativity and focus. By incorporating these strategies into our blogging process, we can take our work to the next level.
Time of Day
When trying to establish an effective blogging regimen, you have to determine the time of day during which you will write. Just like the famous morning versus night time shower debate, many people disagree when it comes to the best time to write.
Each side has merit. Night writers argue that the evening, or even late at night, is the best time to write for several reasons. One is that you are done with other responsibilities for the day so you can put all of your focus into the task at hand. They also cite the natural quiet of night time, while everyone is winding down and going to bed, as a reason this is an excellent time to write.
Yet when you go through the habits of many successful writers, you find that the vast majority of them prefer to write early in the morning. Precisely how early varies from one person to the next. Ernest Hemingway said he woke up and started writing at a reasonable 6am, while Haruki Murakami shared that he was up by four in the morning.
Writers generally say the morning is the best time to write not just because it’s a relatively quiet time of day, but also because of its effect on creativity. The rationale is that, as we go through our day, our energy and drive are gradually depleted. By blogging before we do anything else, we’re able to draw from our well of creativity before it has been used by anything else.
Writers’ preferred conditions for work vary widely when it comes to this topic. While some writers are extremely deliberate and picky about their setting, others are more flexible. At the end of the day, you have to be conscious of which factors allow you to be productive, and which ones lead to distraction.
It’s essential that we take the time to create the right blogging environment before we sit down to work. If you enjoy complete silence, invest in a good pair of earplugs. If you work best during a summer downpour because you prefer the soothing sound of the droplets, don’t just sit around and wait for 1500 gallons of rain to come down on your roof. Instead, download a white noise app that has rain sounds, or search for these recordings of storms on Spotify or Youtube.
If you like listening to music, then don’t hesitate to throw some tunes on. For optimal results, though, most people have to stick to songs that they’re very familiar with or just listen to instrumentals to avoid getting distracted. If you prefer the sound of people, try working in a cafe (when cafes finally reopen!).
This is a factor on which most writers can agree; you generally want your space to stay within a comfortable temperature range. Yes, through discipline you can learn to blog without a sweltering summer day or frigid winter night stopping you. But in general, extreme heat means everything from faster food spoilage to sweaty clothes and a distracted mind. It’s the same for the cold — a chilly room makes for cold cups of tea and a shivering, distracted writer. If your lips are turning blue and you can’t feel your toes, odds are you won’t be focusing on your work. Like baseball players getting subpar performance out of their shaved bats or the car that just won’t turn over when it’s below freezing, cold temperatures can negatively affect the performance of writer, athlete, and machine alike.
Any writer worth their salt will tell you to avoid distractions at all costs. This is why many writers prefer to write alone — Maya Angelou even went so far as to pay for her own hotel room just to write in. However, just because you’re physically alone doesn’t mean that you’re fully protected from the distractions of others. Make sure to turn off your phone and log off of email and social media before sitting down to blog.
Determining the best time to write and environment to work in is an essential step for anyone who is serious about blogging. And these tips aren’t just limited to bloggers — graphic designers whose work wields a huge influence on first impressions, or musicians who are trying to write and record their next album — anyone can benefit from a very specific and consistent work regimen.