Wednesday, February 18, 2015

All Night Write - Calling All Night Owls - Birds of a Feather and All...

S. R. Karfelt, The Glitter Globe, On Writing
S. R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe

Sometime around midnight I come to life. It’s not that I’m not lively during the day; it’s simply that my creativity can lie dormant during daylight hours. As the night grows late, fully-formed scenes start flitting through my head and I just know the perfect dialogue for the characters in my story.

So for the first few hours it’s like my muse and I are hosting a rave. 

And it all just works. Words are flowing effortlessly. When I write I need absolute quiet and it’s only in the middle of the night that all interruptions stop. Even distractions like social media tend to slow and fade come 2:00 a.m., so I’m sharp, game-on, dancing with my muse. The muse is a thing. Mostly I think it’s just a link between our subconscious and our conscious, and apparently mine runs on lunar power.

If you’re not a writer you might be thinking something along the lines of, “Puh-leeze, girlfriend! Writing’s not a real job! You make stuff up and drink coffee all day! How hard can it be?”

It’s like the perfect double axle salchow in ice-skating. It looks effortless when performed correctly, but getting there is a whole different ball of wax.

Since I live in the real world, most of the time, my all night writes aren’t a perfect solution to getting all my words onto the page. Sometimes sleep deprivation can make some ideas seem really brilliant and they’re not brilliant at all. Not even a little bit. 

When I get tired I have tendency to keep right on writing and getting absolutely nowhere. Sometimes I’ll just bang out a random scene that serves absolutely no purpose in the story. It’s just spinning my wheels. I can spin my wheels for hours and hours, if not the entire night. It’s a gift. Let's pretend.

When that happens,  I slip into writing drivel and start writing words that I’ll need to cut out and eliminate the next day. It’s always something of a shock to reread bad story. It’s taken me years to get to the point where I can admit to myself when something just doesn’t work and needs to go. It’s a painful lesson.

The thing is, no matter how painful rewrites or scene deletion might be, nothing can beat the thrill of being a night owl writer. Does it look like as much fun as it is? Because it’s a real hoot! Are any of you night owls? I don’t only do the night owl thing for writing, I’ve been known to run the vacuum or start laundry about then too, and I love when I can call other night owl friends up and have a chat in the middle of the night! Anyone? 


  1. One big bag of "nope" for you.
    I like my sleep. Maybe if I didn't have a day job I'd stay up later? But as is, I'm far too committed to my 7-9 hours ;)

  2. Yep, I hear that, Kelsey! This is my day job, or rather, my night job. ;) Thing is even with this preference I can't write all night every night. The real world has no mercy for anyone who wants to sleep 6-noon.

  3. I find that night, while being my peak social/cleaning time tends to be less than productive as far as writing goes. It may be due to my long-standing habit of telling myself stories till I fall asleep. And these days I go to bed pretty dang early so I can be on the same schedule as my hubby.

  4. What hours are your best Ashley?

    One drawback to writing all night--especially if you back to back a few days of them, is that sometimes you still have to participate in morning. I'll admit I'm very tired tonight after my four meager hours of interrupted sleep this morning.