Diana Kelly Levey

Freelancers Share the Best Time to Write

A man working at a kitchen table in the morning.

July 19, 2021

Have you ever wondered if there is a best time of day for writers to sit down and write? Especially if they want to churn out the best writing of all time? Or, if they simply need to complete their client’s freelance assignment? Are there hours of the day that are more productive for freelance writers to be creative and to get more words on paper? Is a morning writing routine the best one for freelancers?

As you probably suspected, the best time of day for writers to get writing assignments done is when they are feeling the most productive. Or, perhaps it’s when they know they have uninterrupted time to write. Hopefully, the two time frames coincide but life happens and that’s not always the case. Any successful freelancer will tell you that they’ve had to write during times of the day they didn’t want to in order to complete a deadline.

I’ve frequently heard from freelance writer friends that many of them tackle their toughest assignments in the morning or that they think they get more writing done in the early hours of the day. But if you’re a night owl who can’t function well for the first few hours of daylight, mornings probably aren’t your best time for completing writing tasks. Tapping into the times of day when you feel creative or the most energized will likely produce the best freelance creative work. (Here’s how to write faster and earn more money freelancing per hour.)

Personally, I prefer to write in the mornings, or at least at the beginning of the day. Most days, I’m up with my toddler by 5 a.m. and drop him off at daycare or have a sitter come by so that I’m back at my desk working by 7:30. Usually, I’ve had a cup of coffee by then and try to maximize any energy I have while caffeine courses through my veins.

I write out my to-do list at the end of the day before in a notepad next to my keyboard or on a note on my phone. This way, I know exactly what I have to get done while I have childcare help. If that means I’m turning in a freelance assignment that day or the next day, I better get at least an hour of writing done in the morning. I know that I can complete some simple admin tasks and email replies in the evening after my son has gone to sleep—but I’m usually so fried from the day that I know it’s not good content that I’m writing. (Here’s how to be more productive when your schedule is busy.)

Do I want to write first thing in the morning? No. Especially if it’s an assignment I’m not excited to work on that I’ve probably been putting it off. But I know I’ll feel better and more relaxed the rest of the day having completed writing assignments in the morning. In fact, I usually am motivated to keep going on an assignment and write longer than I initially intended to because I’ve got the momentum going. Why is it still so hard to sit down and start writing after decades of freelancing and writing as a career? I don’t know the correct answer, but here’s what I do when I don’t feel like writing and need to get started.

I polled some freelance writers to learn more about their best times of day to write and why they think that is. Here’s why freelance writers are writing at all hours of the day!

Is the Morning the Best Time of Day to Write?

Mornings and evenings are my favorite times of day to write. I like the quiet of those sections of the day, and besides, I’m always up for a siesta in the afternoon! – Ffion Llwyd-Jones

I prefer to write in the morning, between 9 and 11 a.m. I often resist this and waste the beginning of the day on other things (work stuff like phone calls, or procrastination like laundry) but always regret it. My brain is much more alert and creative first thing. One essential for good writing—breakfast! I type and think much faster after a fueling breakfast like eggs. – Kate Taylor

From 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. I’m caffeinated, awake, and the house is still quiet. – Lori Widmer

Midmorning to mid-afternoon are my preferred times to write. Midmorning to mid-afternoon works best for me because at that time, I am in my freest moments coupled with the fact that I would have cleared up any leftover ‘to-do’ list items. Midmorning periods are the most serene moments for me because, kids are usually busy at school, while the adults are at their workplaces, hence there are fewer distractions from neighbors. – Adika Odilinye 

Early morning is the best time of day to write for me. I am a caregiver for my mom and am usually up before her. It gives me uninterrupted time. And I’ve always been a morning person. – Cathy Miller

Between 7 and 10 a.m. I’m still fresh, I just finished working out or running and meditating, and am sitting down for work, ready to take on the day. – Alix M. Campbell

Are Afternoons the Best Time of Day to Write?

The best time of day to write for me is around 1 to 6 p.m., in the afternoon. That’s the best time for my body clock. I am not a morning person — not by a long shot. – Yuwanda Black

Daylight hours ae the best time of day to write for me. I write better when not tired, but I usually write any time between 7 a.m. to 8 p.m, unless I’m on a serious deadline, then it could be any time within 24 hours. – C. Hope Clark

Is Nighttime the Best Time of Day to Write?

At night. Because I’ve always been a night owl. – Caitlin Loggins

When everyone else is asleep because it’s easier for me to word vomit when I’m not thinking about anybody else peeking to see what I’m writing. – Ennie Fakoya

My most productive time of day to write is in the evenings. It’s when my infant son is in bed. – Twyla Adkins, PMP, CAPM

Midnight is my preferred time of day to write. It’s a serene and comforting time. – Willie Geker

Between 1 a.m to 6 a m is my best time of day to write. Everyone else is asleep. It’s just me with very few distractions. – John Teehan

What’s your most productive time of day to write? Share this on social with your response and tag me @DianaKelly.

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