In the Dead of Night

View from the top of Lombard Street, San Francisco, very late one August night.

   I’m starting to wonder if my most productive time of the day, for writing at least, is in the middle of the night. Insomnia and I are well acquainted. It’s not unusual for me to get up around 12:30 a.m. and go write for an hour or two. This happened last week, when thankfully I didn’t have to work the next day, and a 60-minute writing session produced more than 1,000 words and a pretty good breakthrough in the story. I even went back to re-read the scene in the light of day and didn’t hate it (that’s praise — this is a first draft, so I’m not concerned with quality right now).
   But I don’t want to have to schedule a midnight wake-up call to write when I have a full-time job that requires me to be alert by 8 a.m. So, once you’ve identified your most productive time of the day, can you reprogram yourself? Can I train myself to be more productive at, say, 7 p.m. or 6 a.m.?
   Or would I want to? I complain about insomnia, but I also love how quiet the house is when I’m the only one awake. I love sitting in a darkened room, next to an open window, tapping away at my laptop and falling completely into my story. Sure, I’m dragging the next morning, but I don’t know that I’d trade that temporary sluggishness for a full night sleep if I have to give up my midnight excursion into my make-believe world.
    After all, there’s always coffee.

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