3 a.m.

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3 a.m.

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Maio 28, 2008, 10:19pm

Does anyone know what makes the quiet of the early hours of the morning such a productive time to churn out writing?
How do I reconcile the fact that I get most research and writing done at this time but have to try and go to a job that requires being up during the day, at least some of the time, & see my partner?

I have tried writing during the daylight hours but I invariably ditch it the next day and though I modify the midnight musings they provide more value for time-spent.

Jun 3, 2008, 8:43am

I am most productive at 3am because there are no distractions... nothing is on TV, my husband is asleep and I have to be quiet, all my friends are sleeping, so I can't call them and even LT is inactive.
I just graduated with my Masters and I worked nights. I missed time with my husband... he said that we were married on the weekends. Sigh, I am so glad that is over!
Best of luck with your studies!

Jun 4, 2008, 10:45pm

I'm with you! except I will add, now that I'm working on my dissertation -- AND the libraries are never open when I need them for all those things I now HAVE TO HAVE in hard copy, not from online sources. My most productive times are late night (like about now) moving into early morning except I invariably have to leave blank spots for those references I don't have at home or in my office and can't get at this time of night! Phooey!

Jun 7, 2008, 1:22am


And that's the long explanation.

(For the second part, please message me if you ever figure it out.)

Jun 18, 2008, 7:14pm

Doesn't it seem like that time of night is truly magical. I think I do the best work during those hours because my inhibitions are asleep and I can get truly creative with my ideas. Then the next day when I read over what I wrote, I usually think, "How brilliant, where did that come from?!"

Jun 18, 2008, 10:31pm

Or so wiped out that what might seem whacky in the middle of the day actually WORKS when the internal critic stops talking!

Set 25, 2008, 11:11am

There's a system that I developed during my Honours year to cope with this exact problem. I'm a total night-owl, and my writing skills completely evaporate during the day. In order to juggle my research, writing and inconveniently early classes, I would get up at about 4am, work until I had to go to uni, head home about 3pm, take a nanna nap, wake up refreshed enough to have time with my family, and go to bed at around 10pm. It has all the benefits of working at night, and eliminates some of the drawbacks. And plus, you get to be one of those deeply pretentious people who watch the sun rise every morning.

Nov 10, 2008, 5:19pm

MysteryWatcher, what an excellent idea... Especially lately, since the times changed and it's dark by 6pm, so that 10 feels like midnight. I may have to give that a try... Thanks for sharing. :)

Maio 3, 2009, 5:22am

Its really true. There is something comforting about the quiet of the night. It very much helps to focus in on one's thoughts. The glow of the computer screen against the dark of the night makes it seem like there isn't anything else in the world. Insomnia can be very productive. I've had it for the last week and a half.

Maio 4, 2009, 1:44pm

Love this thread! I thought my 'work best late at night' tendency was wierd, but maybe its a postgrad thing! Seriously though, that it might be a group characteristic would not surpise me. Renaissance era thinkers used to classify scholars as melancholics, and wrote many learned treatises about how to overcome melancholia, although they also saw melancholy as the key to success - the ability to withdraw into yourself and think deeply. And of course a classic sign of melancholy was love of the night. See the Elizabethan poet George Chapman on this.

I always love working late at the library and coming home around midnight, through a silent darkened world, lit only occasionally by the light through a window of what maybe a fellow scholar of the night in rapt attendance on her muse! This was especially strong lat year when i was doing research in The Hague in the Netherlands in the cold and dark month of February. A buzz.

I would love to adopt MysteryWatchers technique, but 4 year old twins don't allow it! Permanent tiredness during the thesis time is to be my fate I fear!

Jul 12, 2009, 4:23pm

I am somewhat different: I get my best work done in the early morning, right after I wake up. I am not a night owl, but an eaerly bird, even though we are only seperated by two or so hours.

I like to get up in the morning, read something intellectually stimulating for about an hour w/ coffee, and then start writing. +

Nov 2, 2009, 11:34am

I think it has to be part of the pressure of having something that keeps you up at night. I have to keep a notebook beside my bed because I always have some ideas for topics or beautifully constructed sentences when I'm trying to fall asleep.

I love working on papers late at night because I can sit at my computer with no one to distract me! I also get my moments of brilliant inspiration around 11 pm, then I can't go to bed until 3 am - or until I get so tired my sentences stop making sense!

Nov 2, 2009, 12:42pm

For me it has been this way because of my poor sleeping ability. Since childhood I've been a horrendously poor sleeper in that I struggle to fall asleep - many, many, many times not at all. So to cure my boredom while lying in bed, I would always read or write (and naturally my parents would wander in during the wee hours of the morning and make me turn my light off, which I would...for ten minutes).

This carried over into serious research and writing, so for me at least it is more a habit than anything else. Although there have been plenty of times that I got a ton of excellent work done during the afternoon. I've always been the type that works without distractions for a good period of time. I don't have a TV on, I don't get bored with the work (usually), etc. so I've never had the struggle of various distractions.

Nov 3, 2009, 12:25am

#12 bibliolee8 - snap!! I know I'm actually getting somewhere with my work when I have to turn the light back on a few times to scribble in my notebook before I can go to sleep. It seems as if the minute I close my eyes my brain is playing catch-up with all the information it's taken in that day.