Morning writing

Since the start of NaNoWriMo, I’ve been building the habit of writing for thirty minutes in the morning. I’d wake up, and sit in front of the computer and either type away, or hem and haw and be annoyed at not being able to write. I stick with it, though, to “train” myself to “expect” that I will write for thirty minutes when I wake up.

Wake upThe nice thing about writing in the morning is that my inner editor is still half-asleep too. So I just pound out crappy words and typographical errors and I don’t really care: I’m just writing and getting the story (or whatever it is I’m writing) out. Editing can come later.

The result? More words. (Cough.)

It’s not without its challenges, though. Sometimes, I wake up late and I just need to rush! Sometimes, I wake up to a text message and get distracted and everything else just goes down the drain. And even more often: sometimes, I just really need to pee.

There are a couple of things that help with the habit-forming, though:

  1. I open my writing application (Scrivener) and leave the computer open as I go to bed. In the morning, I just get up, sit on my desk, type in my screensaver password, and start writing directly.
  2. I think about what I want to write about before I go to sleep and repeat it to myself a couple of times. This way, the chances are good that I will write about it in the morning!
  3. I type with my eyes closed. (This obviously won’t work if you’re not very comfortable with typing without looking at the keyboard!) I type worse when I’m not looking at the screen, but it actually helps! (Of course, I’m also half-asleep, so it’s just easier to let my eyes just close up of their own accord…) Once I’m fully awake, or sometime during the day, I do go over what I’ve written to correct the typos–if I leave it for too long, I won’t remember! (This has happened to me before with my morning freewriting.)
  4. I usually do well to write emotional, vivid, and/or “dreamy” and evocative scenes while in this half-asleep state, and not action-oriented, “exciting” scenes. This is pretty much an observation of my writing style while I’m in my half-asleep state, so your mileage may vary, but to make use of this, I try to plan to write appropriate scenes in the morning.

This is something I’ll definitely continue to do moving forward, and maybe improve on it by actually giving myself a word count target for this morning writing, even outside the bounds of NaNoWriMo.


  • This is great advice. I’ve heard it before (write after you wake up) but pretty much blew it off because I’m not a morning person. ut I like the way you broke it down. I’ll give it a try.

  • Sharie Orr said:

    Great thoughts here. I am definitely in an other-worldly dreamlike state when I wake up. I quickly put on the coffee and begin reading online to wake myself up. Looks like it would be much more productive to “use” that not-quite-conscious time instead of trying to push past it asap. I do really have some odd/interesting/insightful things going through my head at that time. Thanks!

    • Yes, that half-asleep state is simply the best ever for getting things out of my imagination as well. Funny, I was just watching the movie Inception as well, about dreams and their potential; I just usually forget about them very quickly! Which is a shame, I’ve gotten a few interesting gems by writing down half-asleep ideas–how many must have disappeared with the actual process of waking up.