The fact that it has changed over the years as a result of life’s circumstances demonstrates to me that a peak time does not have to be a set time that will never change. The fact that the peak time can differ from one writer to another also proves that there is no right or wrong answer.
I think that the awareness of one’s peak time for writing is a huge asset, which allows one to capitalize upon that best time, to protect it and to schedule around it, whenever possible.
Back in my university years, my classes took place at pretty much any time of day from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. When you also add to the equation a part-time job that filled gaps between classes in addition to time for a social life, my sacred time for writing had to be late in the evening.
With my day fully behind me, I could feel a sense of calm and stillness. With the knowledge that my obligations were met and I wasn’t likely going to face any interruptions, I could easily get in the zone, whether for writing reports, essays, or the poetry I wrote on the side. The ideas and the words to convey them would come to me quite easily until about 1:00 a.m.
When I got into the work force, there was greater stability in my schedule and I needed to be in bed at a decent time to be sharp for the next day. Those late night writing sessions were out the window.
As a new employee, faced with a big learning curve, when the choice was mine I tended to reserve mornings for reading, studying and absorbing new material, and writing tasks naturally followed into the afternoons.
However, once the big, initial learning curve was over and I was performing tasks from knowledge, experience and intuition, my peak time for writing seemed to shift again. Mornings were now my peak time.
In the morning, after a good night’s sleep, my mind is calm, clear and refreshed. At that time of day, I haven’t had a chance to absorb too much of what I call the “psychological clutter” of a day that can fog up our clarity. In the morning, I also seem to have better resilience to shake off distractions and to maintain my ability to remain tuned in to the creative parts of the brain.
Once I felt confident in the assertion that mornings were my peak time for writing, I shared it with my managers.
I was happy to complete any written assignment at any time in the work day. But if they wanted my most innovative, my most creative or my most polished work, if we could set aside some time in the morning for me to complete the task, I knew I could deliver my best. Managers seemed pretty open to working with that. I think it would be fair to say that in the later years of my career, the majority of my most challenging written assignments were completed in the morning hours.
That peak time seems to have followed me into retirement. I am most fortunate that my current distractions from writing are more within my control. On most days, gardening, apple picking, housekeeping and cooking can wait until I’ve completed at least a couple of hours of writing first thing in the morning.
Then, other writing elements like research, editing and social media can be handled at other times of the day when the creative side of the brain has delivered its quota of fresh ideas.
There is an exception though. To avoid crowds, I generally like to get my errands done as soon as stores open, so those days, I willingly sacrifice the writing. By the time I get home, I am too tired to write anyway.
But in the grand scheme of things, if I can capitalize on my peak time and successfully complete five solid morning writing sessions in an average week, I consider it a most successful week and validation that I am indeed following my life’s purpose.
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