I follow a number of blogs and newsletters, and lately I’ve been noticing a trend: a number of my favourite newsletters and blogs recommend waking up an hour earlier to get your writing done. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially because it was one of the key recommendations in COMMIT, the self-help book recently published by Linda Formichelli of The Renegade Writer.
I know this strategy works for a lot of people, but I resent the idea that in order to be successful, I have to wake up earlier.
Instead, I believe in a concept introduced to me by DIY MFA: magic time. Magic time is the time of day when you are at your best. It is the time when you can accomplish all your work in half the time it would normally take, the time when you’re most focused and productive.
Magic time is actually a different time of day for everyone. Many people will find their magic time happens to be in the morning, but for others, that time might be afternoon, evening or even the wee hours of the morning. My magic time happens to be between 6 and 10 PM, probably because I got really used to the routine of writing after school.
Getting up earlier isn’t critical to writing success, but determining your magic time and setting it aside to write is. Making sure you spend this time writing every single day allows you to maximize productivity while still producing the best work possible.
For me this happens to be easy: my boyfriend works evenings, meaning the house tends to be empty when I want to be write. For you this might not be so easy, but it’s still crucial to your success.
So how do you find your magic time?
Finding your magic time is easy, albeit time consuming. You have to try writing at different times of day: try staying up an hour later, then waking up an hour earlier, then blocking off the time immediately after you get home from work, then any other time you can reasonably devote to writing. You have to test each of these times for a two week period–or longer if you want–to determine which is best for you. Anything less than two weeks won’t give you a solid idea of how productive you are during that time overall.
Once you’ve found your magic time, protect it by any means off. During your magic time, turn your phone off, keep your office door closed and inform anyone you live with that you are unavailable. You’ll probably find that your magic time still gets interrupted once in a while, but if you deliberately carve it out, keeping that time free will get easier every week and you’ll find yourself producing more, better work than ever before.
Do you know when your magic time is? Let me know in the comments below!