Thursday, June 24, 2010

The best time of day to write

Miranda, my cat, is the first to know I'm up at the crack of dawn. Little does she care I have reasons to be padding around the house other than feeding her. There are prayers and coffee to make which I perform to the tune of an orchard full of songbirds announcing the new day like it's going to be something crazy special.

Two days after the summer soltice, dawn begins at 4:07 a.m. where I live in California, but I give myself another hour of sleep and set the alarm for 5:00. That leaves me 45 minutes until the official daystart, but if I'm lucky I can keep writing until 7 or 8.

What's so special about writing at dawn? I could be sleeping like most normal people, but I love this 'in-between time' emerging gradually from the darkness of night. It hasn't opened into the full light of day. More like a rose bud, that's dawn. It feels like wonder and promise and hope.

I open my laptop and bring up my WordDoc and suddenly I'm in my Special World that Christopher Vogler describes in The Writer's Journey. When I'm writing I must leave the Ordinary World just as my protagonist must after he responds to his 'call to adventure'. I slip into it so easily at dawn, it seems like a gift bestowed from Beyond. I always try to prolong my visit as long as possible and I feel a sense of loss when I must leave. Sunrise ushers in the 'ordinary world' and demands my attention, my body demands to be fed, and I remember my journey like it was some kind of dream.


  1. In the early hours before dawn we are usually most aware of our alpha brain waves,the source of our creativity and free is a time before we take on our social role and identity...Sid

  2. Sid: Thanks for stopping by my new blog.

    Re: 'before we take on our social role' --I am certainly not too social before sunrise, sometimes not even *after* sunrise :)but there is a mystical quality to the dawn hours that feels like it's coming from somewhere far beyond my small brain.

  3. Rahma....I have this vision of you writing at that special time, with the birds chirping while the rest of us are sleeping peacefully. I am sure you must be getting uninterrupted and quality time to write. We consider it a very auspicious time, perfect for meditation.

  4. I love how you liken time with your work to the Hero's Journey. So true.
    I've tried getting up extra early, but during the summer mornings are when I tend to my garden and run errands before the heat kicks in. Perhaps when the weather cools, I'll try again.

  5. Rachna: There's nothing quite like it; no phone, no tv, no one needing to be fed or have questions answered. :)
    I really treasure that time.

    Kathryn: More & more I feel parallels between my writer's journey and the classic hero's journey. The struggles are mainly with myself, but I really relate to the mythical journey.

    I see you have been reading it as well. Looking forward to another brainstorming session!

  6. Great post Rahma! You see for me the perfect writing time is at night....I am a night owl at heart....I love it when it is dark and quiet with little interruptions...But I do know what you mean about the dawns.....I try to write for 1/2 an hour every morning when I wake up in "Morning Pages"...


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