I write best in the morning and late at night. It’s one of those things I’ve always known about myself, but have only acknowledged out loud recently–since I’ve been forcing myself to churn out 1,000 words of my thesis a day. Usually, I get up, eat a bowl of tasteless fibre, grab a coffee and get to work — either at home or at the office. I’m in front of the computer by 8:30 or 9, check my email, then start writing by 9 or 9:30. With that little ritual accomplished, I manage to squeeze 1,000 reluctant words* out of my brain some time around lunch.
The kicker is, on most days, as soon as I eat lunch, my brain decides it’s time for a 4-5 hour holiday.
I used to sit in front of the computer and make myself feel guilty about the lack of writing I was accomplishing all afternoon (oh, all right, I still do that at least 50% of the time) and sometimes that actually produced another few hundred useable words. Now I realise that it’s best to do research, to take notes, to read, do translations, go to a seminar–whatever–once my brain starts taking its afternoon doze. Then, sufficiently refreshed, by late afternoon or soon after dinner time, my brain starts churning again and I get a few hours of solid writing done in the evening (at which point I reward myself for my pitiful 1,000 word accomplishment earlier in the day by spending these evening hours working on short stories — hurray!)
*plus footnotes! We mustn’t forget footnotes! Some days, I write 1,000 words in the body of the thesis and almost an equivalent number of words in the footnotes…