Last night I ended up completing target between 10:30pm and midnight. This is what I normally consider a “bad night”, whereby the following pattern plays out:
- Target gets done late one night.
- I get to sleep much later.
- I wake up more tired still.
- I have just enough focus to get through the day.*
- I end up needing to rest up in the evening.
- I end up writing target late.
And the cycle continues. For a long time, I looked at these individual bad days as a factor I could control. After all, 1K is a daily routine. It stands to reason that if I can correct the problem at the end of one day, the next day starts afresh. I knew if I had a sleep deficit – even before I tracked it properly – this hurt my ability to write story content.
So what if I told you, my dear imaginary reader, that I am starting to think I got it all wrong? What if I told you that rather than “good weeks” and “bad weeks”, what I go through are closer to “daytime weeks” and “nocturnal weeks”.
I used to do all my writing at night. I once wrote an entire – god awful – screenplay in one night. No, I am not sharing that here, 15 year old me was, bless his heart, an abysmal writer. But the habit worked.
The issue was I wouldn’t stop, then I would crash. That cycle repeated itself, but what I never registered, was that I wrote just as much during the day at other times. It’s just you don’t lose sleep doing that.
So what’s the answer to harnessing a nocturnal mood?
It’s 1K. I had the answer the entire time. If I need a nocturnal week, fine, write at 11, 12, 2am, it doesn’t matter. I thought for ages the problem was I didn’t have the right tools to fight that trend. I now realise that the problem is I keep fighting it.
So today, if I feel like writing before I leave work, between 5pm and 6pm, I will. If I don’t, I’ll do it later. As long as I do it between waking up and going to sleep, it counts. So I am going to stop looking down on late night.