What’s Your Best Time To Create?

Science tells us that we’re driven by cycles, which I believe impacts our creativity. Although we can force ourselves to do almost anything, I think we do our best work at specific times of the day. For me, it’s morning. From about 6am to noon I do my best writing. After that I can do email, phone calls, meetings, or other work related tasks, but for my best writing, it has to be in the morning. Last week in London, I picked up the book “For Writers Only” by Soppy Burnham. She ran down the list of times of day when a number of great creators were at their peak:

Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote at night.
William Faulkner claimed he wrote only when it rained.
Anthony Burgess wrote in the afternoon, when, for him at least, “the unconscious mind has a habit of asserting itself.”
Aldous Huxley put in three or four hours of writing before noon, and Tolstoy, Henry Miller, and Thomas Mann likewise all preferred to write from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Flannery O’Connor, afflicted with lupus, would write only two hours a day – always at the same time in the same place.

Deciding your best time of day is to discover when you’re at your creative best. I find most creative people like to work either early in the morning or late at night. A smaller number prefer the afternoon. Certainly our work schedules, families duties, and day jobs will impact the time we write, and truthfully, we can adapt to almost anything. Early on, I knew I was better in the morning, so I wrote my first couple of books coming into the office two hours before anyone else arrived.

Finding the right time does two things: First, it catches you at your creative best. And two, (perhaps even more important) it helps establish a creative rhythm for your life that keeps you working regularly.

So don’t copy others. What’s important is that it’s the right time for YOU. Think about it. When have you done your best work in the past?

And if you know your best time, share it with our readers. I’m curious to find out when you’re at your creative best.

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  1. The early afternoon is my best time to create. By that time the major tasks are done, and I’ve noticed that it’s usually the quietest time for me to focus.

  2. For me its where is the best place. As a mom of two small children, business owner and a growing mentorship office, I find that my location determines my productivity. I have to get out of my busy, hectic environment and sit somewhere overlooking a body of water and the creative juices flow. I am so fortunate I can fly to the Caribbean for a long weekend and send a few days with extreme productivity. As a type A person I need peaceful environment to make it happen. I’ve been told fire needs water 😉 Currently with a newborn, I can squeeze short 30 min. stints in the evening only b/c everyone is in bed… but that still doesn’t quite cut it for me. Thanks for the article.

  3. Morning is definitely best for me. Some time during the afternoon fatigue or sadness or some other emotion is almost certain to catch up with me, and curtail my best work. But I f I put in a few hours in the morning I know my day has not been “wasted.”

  4. Creativity makes a man famous in the world. So we need to proved our creativity such that we got the position in the world. And i know people also like this new invention so more.

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