How I Got Over Writer's Block #3: Find YOUR Best Time

Image Credit: Malvestida on Unsplash

How I Got Over Writer's Block is a series of posts where I share the ways I changed my approach to the writing process in order to make it easier to actually sit down and do the work.

By re-framing key elements in the creative process, I was able to start writing and publishing consistently.


In my first post of the series, I outlined how to overcome Resistance (that thing that stops you from sitting down to do your work) by simply learning to Touch the Keys (finding the tiniest task that you can commit to doing every day).

In my second post, I talked about how not to Break the Chain and how to Celebrate (aka - build consistency through the use of positive reinforcement).

Now we move onto Step 3 of the process; Find YOUR Best Time.

Step 3 - Find YOUR Best Time.

What's the best time of day to write?

The short answer is: whatever time of day will consistently work for you.

Consistently is the key word here.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

How do you write a book? One word at a time.

Don't try to write a book (eat the elephant) in a few sittings. You will choke.

Take small bites (write a little bit) every day.

Therefore, you need to find a time where you will consistently have time every day.

Personally I find first thing in the morning to be my best time. If I wait, the day and its demands annihilate even the best of intentions, and I won't sit down to write.

Also, although I have time in the evening, my brain's ability to focus intensely on ideas and make decisions about phrasing and grammar are tapped out. I've lost my creative focus from having had to multi-task all day.

For me, first thing in the morning it is.


I go to bed between 8:30-9:30 PM, and wake up daily between 4:30-5:30 AM, without the use of an alarm clock.

I was never a night owl, but I used to go to bed a bit later. Then I realized the only things I do if I stay up are generally not value-added activities - e.g. watching television, scrolling on my phone, etc.

(What time of day are you most likely to waste time - and can you use that time in a different, better way?)

In the morning, my brain is fresh and creative; it's full of ideas. But if I wake up too close to the time when I have to login to work, then all those ideas need to be put on the back burner. Later in the day, when my job work is done, the ideas are hazy and disconnected. My brain is tired as a result of multi-tasking and I no longer have the mental bandwidth to create.

If I want to do quality creative work, then I need to do it when my brain is fresh and the world is quiet. For me that means that I generally write between the hours of 5:00-7:00 AM.

(What time of day are you the most focused and creatively inclined - can you set that time aside to do your most important work?)

I recently discovered that Elizabeth Gilbert, writer of Eat, Pray, Love, has almost the same routine.

"When I’m writing, I tend to go to bed around 9 o’clock. That way I can get up by 4:30 or 5. My favorite time to write is between 5 to 10 a.m., because that way you have the total silence before the world starts chasing you down. By 10 the phone is ringing, emails are coming in, all sorts of things need your care and attention. So I like those secret morning hours. If I’m really gunning, toward the end of project, I might write past noon, but that would be rare."

(If in doubt, research your writing heroes and find out about their processes - you'll either get confirmation on what you're already doing or new ideas on what to do.)

The benefit of writing - or doing anything - during the first few hours of the day is that you'll be mentally free for the rest of the day. You won't need to think about doing the task because you've already done it.

From the Huberman Lab Newsletter, the time of day when your brain chemistry is most conducive to building new habits is: "The first 0–8 hours after waking. Your brain and body are more action and focus oriented in Phase 1 due to elevated dopamine, adrenaline and cortisol levels. It’s easier to overcome limbic friction. Note: We are also more prone to distraction and reflexive multitasking at this time. Don’t succumb to that."

Now you certainly don't have to write first thing in the morning, because ultimately the best time is YOUR time; the time you'll do it consistently, whenever that is for you.

Identify that time, book it in your calendar, and then always Touch the Keys at that same time.

Slow and steady wins the race every time.

To recap:

Step 1 is overcoming Resistance by learning to Touch the Keys.

Step 2 is using Touch the Keys to avoid Breaking the Chain, and to Celebrate every time you add to the Chain.

Step 3 is finding the YOUR Best Time of day to Touch the Keys.

Until next time, write on!

Image Credit: Thought Catalog on Unsplash


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