The Best Times to Write by Meggin McIntosh, PhD

In Writers
Feb 14th, 2013

clock 2We all have daily rhythms and we also have weekly and yearly rhythms. It is worth paying attention to all of them. Here are ten ideas for acknowledging and using your rhythms so you can be productive in your writing.

  1. Early morning. Many people find this to be the very best time to write because the muddle of the day hasn’t started yet. If this is your best time, then schedule it so you have it right there waiting for you. Sharon O’Brien said, “Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say.”
  2. Late at night. The night-owl writer is the one who loves it when the house is quiet and all the rest of the world is asleep – and then can write uninterrupted and unimpeded. For some, this is the rhythm that they need to capitalize on. For some people the nighttime writing is not planned but is the result of what Carrie Latet describes: “If I’m trying to sleep, the ideas won’t stop. If I’m trying to write, there appears a barren nothingness.”
  3. At lunch time. Found time is a fine time to write. If you wrote even 30 minutes of every lunch time for 5 days, that’s 2 1/2 hours of writing a week. You can get a lot of words written during that time. You can write at your desk or better yet, get out of your regular “work” place and write outside, in the car, in another room, or a place that let’s you know you are taking a (needed) break from your other work to write.
  4. Special times that you protect for yourself on the weekends or certain workdays. Even though the wise writers don’t try to hold all their writing to do during “blocks of time,” because those too rarely show up, we can create some special spaces for writing. You can decide that Saturday mornings are special writing times for you or Tuesday afternoons, or any other time that you can look ahead, block out and decide to protect…just for writing.
  5. Seasons of the year – summer. Gosh, summer is a great time for writing! For some folks summer is their least busy season or at least the one that has more flexibility. If this is true for you, then see summer as a time for productive writing. It’s not that you are trying to do ALL your writing in the summer (or in any of these other seasons) but rather that you recognize that the yearly rhythm offers summer as a unique time for writing.
  6. Seasons of the year – fall. Guess what? I’m going to say that fall is a great time for writing! For many writers, fall signals “back to school” and/or a physical and emotional change of seasons that is more apparent than other seasons because of the falling leaves and the smells of fall (in many parts of the world). Look at fall as one of those times of using this shift to support your changes in writing focus, style, or production.
  7. Seasons of the year – winter. You already know what I’m going to write don’t you? Winter is a great time for writing! Depending on where you love, there might be the possibility of snowy days for luscious writing. Or, maybe you live somewhere that is scrumptiously warm even in the winter and you can revel in that and just write. It seems like there are many holidays (in the U.S.) that fall during the winter, so that’s another interesting aspect of winter time for writing.
  8. Seasons of the year – spring. Well, it’s the last time I’ll say it (only because we’re out of seasons after this one…), but spring is a great time for writing. There is such a sense of rebirth and awakening and change that comes around as we move from winter and spring and you can use these overall sense to awaken new ways, ideas, venues, or other shifts in your writing. Note: There are pluses to every season.
  9. When you’re happy. When you are happy, content, satisfied…and you are a writer, you can enjoy that contentment and keep it flowing right into your writing. Writers feel such discovery and joy around writing and to mix that in with a time when we’re already happy…wow! People might not be able to stand being around us we’re so blissful.
  10. When you’re not (happy). Sometimes, the most authentic writing comes when life is NOT going well and we are not enjoying any aspect of it. While I wish you didn’t have those times, I know full well that all of us do. When the unhappy, unpleasant times come (and they will) then write. You may not be writing your normal genre or style of writing…but don’t miss the opportunity to write. You may feel, as Graycie Harmon did that, “Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.” And…you might as well write about it.

Note: Acknowledging your rhythms does not mean excusing yourself from writing at other times, i.e., if writing is a goal for you. And I’m assuming that since you subscribe to these “Top Tens,” writing is a goal of yours.

© Meggin McIntosh, PhD (also known as “The PhD of Productivity”®). One of the ways that you can learn from Meggin about productive writing is through her 30 Articles in Just 30 Days program (

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