Infographic and Video: Wake Up and Write!

There seems to be this misconception that all the best writers wake up very early and do their work first thing in the morning.

Thankfully for those of us who enjoy our sleep, BrainPickings has dispelled the myth that you need to rise early to be a good writer with the below infographic. It lays out several of the best writers of the last two hundred years along with when they woke up, how many books they wrote, and whether or not their life ended in suicide. (Cheerful.) The chart shows that there really isn’t much connection between when you wake up and how prolific or successful a writer you are.

This TED Talk on the science of sleep also serves to dispel the myth. About half way through, Russell Foster notes that the only difference between people who are early risers and people who are night owls is that early risers are very smug.

That said, the one thing that does seem to ring true is that the best time to write is first thing in the morning. Make your coffee, send your kids off to school, then start typing. If you have to, try to wake up an hour earlier than you usually do to fit in as much writing as you canĀ before heading off to work. If you wait until later in the day, it becomes easier and easier to put off writing in favor of other tasks and priorities.

Write first, or you may not write at all.

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