Follow the circadian rhythm to write effortlessly
I experiment with my writing routine to understand which process increases my productivity.
When I started writing, I thought a clear mind was essential. So I was writing in the evening after work. Because that is the time, my mind is free.
After 8 p.m., when I opened my laptop to write, I was feeling sleepy. I was tired after the day’s work. So, I thought to change my writing routine. I experimented with writing in the morning.
The magic happened.
I could write something in the morning. I was amazed to see how my energy level changed throughout the day. And so did my writing ability.
Have you ever questioned why we sleep at night and work in the morning and not the reverse? It is because our body has its cycle, which adjusts according to the natural light. There is a change in physical, mental, and behavioral levels throughout the 24 hours of the day. It is called the circadian rhythm of the body.
According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, below is the circadian rhythm of a typical teenager.
I assume there will not be much difference in the cycle between a teen and an adult.
It shows the energy is maximum before 1 pm. So I try to do as much writing as possible by this time.
I reserve the second half of the day for light work like research, headline analyzing, submitting to publications, and writing short forms.
I have planned my writing routine according to the circadian rhythm. Let’s get started.
Write an article or do the editing of the completed essay in the morning when the energy is high
I wake up at 6 in the morning. I take one hour to get ready for my work. After I am ready, I write for one hour. It is free-flow writing without any edits and filters. After that, I leave for my work.
I am not a morning person. I usually take an hour to come out of my sleepy state. So I thought I would do all the writing after I returned home. But this plan did not work out. I am so tired after work that my brain cannot figure out what to write. It is like the ideas are floating in my head, but my hands do not have the strength to type. And I am too lazy to do voice typing.
So, I had to bargain one golden hour from my sleepy early morning to use the fresh energy of my mind. I noticed that after waking up, the words seemed to flow like magic. I almost do not have to think about what to write. It just flows. I grabbed this window of high mental energy to write down as much as possible. At this point, I do not know the scientific reason behind it. I parked the research for the evening after work.
You can also edit the article you are writing in the morning. You are utilizing the fresh burst of morning energy the universe has given you. Since editing requires a lot of mental energy, this activity fits well in this band of your energy.
You are in a fresh energy to perceive the writing differently, so your editing skill is also at its optimum level.
Before, I was trying to do the editing at night after returning from work. I was making this mistake. My brain was blurred when I opened my laptop. It is because I was tired to do this editing work after the whole day. I felt sleepy while reading my article, let alone doing the editing. I realized it was not me who did not want to write. My energy level was a hindrance. So I thought I’d have to change my writing schedule to get the most out of my energy.
I experimented with editing in the morning, and magic happened. I could do the editing work effortlessly in the morning because my energy was at its peak. My brain was also generating fresh ideas to make the article look good, and most importantly, I was excited while editing the article.
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences suggests our energy is at its peak before 1 pm. So I try to do as much writing or editing as possible during this time.
Write random thoughts in the afternoon when the energy is low
Post lunchtime is always a challenge to stay awake. The drowsiness and incessant yawning give me a hard time focusing on work. To spice it up, I decided to utilize this window of time to note down any random thoughts that came to my mind. It can draw inspiration from anything around me. For example, I noted a few points today while I gazed outside the glass office window.
- The birds have the most freedom to fly anywhere they like-How can I get that freedom to live my life the way I want?
- The benefits of sky meditation.
- How to include meditation at work?
I will use these pointers as a reference to write an article in the future. I write a few lines against each pointer so that I have the schema of the essay when I start writing.
Do some research in the evening
During the evening I am tired to write anything. So I utilize this time to do some research on the article that I am writing. My energy level at this time is perfect enough for doing the research. I spend around an hour on the internet to increase my knowledge base. Anything more than that would strain my tired eyes and cause a severe headache. So I have limited my screen time during the evening.
I have substituted screen time with other activities like meditation, painting, and sketching. When my brain activity is low, I feel calm in my mind and body. This state of mind helps me to align with the article I am writing and find out the loopholes and ways to improve the writing style.
Read books at night
I have reserved the nighttime for quality reading in physical books. Currently, I am reading a book On Writing by Stephen King. I read somewhere that you have to read good essays to write well. I lacked it for some time because I was not getting the time to read the books. While starting my writing journey in Medium, I felt that I was short of ideas when writing, and it slowed my writing speed. It increased my frustration and the extreme urge to quit writing. Then I read a few articles on how to write fast, and I found that writing fast is a combination of different factors that we have to include in our daily life. These are –
- Reading -this generates ideas.
- Taking notes — we need to write whenever any idea hits our mind so that we do not forget those when we sit to write. This way, we do not have a blank page while writing because we already have the schema of the article. I lacked taking notes. I was trying to write only with the help of personal experiences. It was a limitation in writing fast.
- Connecting dots — When we write, we have to connect the dots between the knowledge we gain from reading, our running notes, and our personal experiences.
This way, we have the knowledge required for writing. It increases our writing speed.
To conclude, write or edit during the morning. Reserve the post-lunch and evening for light work like research, headline analyzing, reading books, taking notes, etc.
This writing routine helps me.
However, there are some days when I feel unmotivated to write. If you also have a similar experience, do not be harsh on yourself. Take a break if you do not want to write. Go for a walk, visit your nearest cafe, and talk to your friends and family. And then come back to writing. You will feel rejuvenated to write.
Remember, if you love to write, it has to come from your heart. You need not force yourself to write.
Four Easy Techniques to Improve Your Writing Routine was originally published in The Writing Cooperative on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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Author: Ipshita Bose