This is an article I found on “The Writing Cooperative” – it is for writers – BUT it is also very useful for problem solving. I had always used it with a lot of success. But at some point I let go of it and let the smartphone take over. Believe I hate that habit of mine that I need to look at my phone first thing after I wake up. Now I put an end to that. This article describes very well WHY it is so important and so it gave me that kick I very much needed.
Why You Need To Write First Thing In The Morning
Unpacking a writing habit many of the greatest authors have
Sometimes I wonder how other writers were able to write and publish so many books. I certainly haven’t written a book and I’ve already felt creative fatigue on days when I really don’t feel like writing.
Naturally, I went looking into the daily routines of famous writers, hoping to find a secret — or maybe a few tips.
While I didn’t discover any secret ailment for creativity, I did find that there were shocking similarities in what time they did their writing.
Routines of the best
Haruki Murakami — starts writing at 4:00 a.m. for 5–6 hours
Ernest Hemingway — writes every morning as soon as possible
Kurt Vonnegut — writes from 5:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.
Maya Angelou — books a hotel room by the month and goes at 6:30 a.m. to write
Barbara Kingsolver — wakes up at 4:00 a.m. to write
A.J. Jacobs —takes his kids to school and starts writing right away
You’re more creative in the morning
It was surprising for me to find that many authors wrote in the morning. Other than writing morning pages, I don’t write in the morning. In fact, right after I finish my morning routine I go straight into the rest of my day where I’m either working or studying.
But after discovering this strange similarity between the writing times of these authors, I realised it was obvious that writing creatively might be easier right after waking up since this is when the prefrontal cortex is most active.
This certainly makes sense because I find that when I’m writing my morning pages right after I wake up, I seem to have endless flights of ideas.
This doesn’t just apply to writing too. I’m a computer science student right now and I spend the majority of my university time programming. Sometimes when I can’t solve a difficult problem, I’ll go to sleep and somehow wake up knowing exactly what to do to solve it.
It’s almost as if my brain was trying to creatively solve my problems in my sleep. I don’t really understand the science behind this but I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this phenomenon.
There’s the famous Tetris effect where people who play Tetris for prolonged periods of time end up dreaming about how the different shapes and colours are fitting into each other.
The subconscious works in your sleep
Your subconscious mind wanders around creating contextual and temporal connections while you sleep, which is the whole idea of creativity anyway (finding different patterns and connections between things).
Josh Waitzkin, a famous chess player and author of ‘The Art of Learning’wakes up, meditates and goes straight to his journal to write. He tries to access the new information his mind has created through focusing on output as soon as he wakes up.
He calls this ‘crystallized intelligence’.
This is contrary to what most of us do: go on our phones and look for input to stimulate us. On the other hand, this drains our creativity as our focus immediately goes onto the phones instead of accessing our thoughts.
The impact on writing
Before I even discovered that writing in the morning was a popular routine between famous authors, I had been doing it.
I write three longhand pages of stream of consciousness writing as soon as I wake up — before I do anything. I’ve found that it has certainly been true that I come up with new ways of seeing the world by writing them out.
One notable experience I’ve had was when I was extremely angry at a friend. It was one of those times when something minor triggered me and I just couldn’t get over it.
So I went to sleep.
After I woke up, I wrote everything on my mind. As I was writing about the situation, I realised that I wasn’t angry anymore. It was almost as if the anger seeped into me and my subconscious drove it away in my sleep!
If you haven’t tried writing in the morning, I would recommend you start whenever you can. It has been a tremendous change in my writing. In fact, most of my ideas for my blog come from writing in the morning.
I plan on writing in the morning until the day I die.