Writing in the Dark

I do a lot of writing in the dark. The house is quiet. No one asks questions. The phone never rings. It's perfect.

Except for the handwriting. A little hard to decipher in the morning.

But I can't stop my nocturnal scribbles, for a few good reasons. Want to know why?

Brain connect. I'm not sure if there's any science behind it, but I feel like both sides of my brain are on better speaking terms when I'm half asleep. I'm able to tap into creative areas that seem to be locked during my waking hours. I try to have a particular scene in mind as I lay my head on the pillow, and I'm often surprised at the results.

Editors don't work at night. When I record the ideas that come to mind--snippets of dialogue, character descriptions, and plot surprises--I don't turn on the light. My pad and pen are on the nightstand, and I try to be careful to leave space between my lines. If I don't document what came to me, it's gone in the morning.

The best part of this, is that my internal editor has gone home. I can't visually look over what I've written and analyze it. There's no way to cross out, or check the spelling. It is what it is. And I can't wait for morning to rediscover what I jotted down.

Technicolor dreams. Try as I might, most scenes are hard to immerse myself in when I'm sitting in front of a keyboard. But falling asleep or waking up? They're in living color, and their twists and turns take me by surprise.

During one of these "dreams", I discovered one of my characters was deaf. Wow. He'd never let on. What might your characters tell you?

The best part of writing in the dark comes the next day. I wake up, and I have no idea what my great thought was the night before. I can't wait to grab my spiral and find out what it was. In turn, reading these scribbled notes gives me something to start on for the day. No more blank page issues.

What about you? Have you ever tried to write in the dark?


  1. No, I have never tried this. What an interesting idea! My best writing is always in the morning. Do you light up a candle or switch on a dim light when you write at night?

    Interesting post!


  2. I never switch on the light, or I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep. I just try to make sure I slide my hand down enough so I won't write on top of what I've written!


  3. I think it's a genius idea. I'm going to try it tonight.

  4. I hope it works for you! Let me know how it goes.

    Loving your writing blog, by the way. I'll be back to read more!


  5. I wrote in the dark for the first time last night - rather than some literary effort it was mostly to head off some anxiety

    I really connected with what you wrote about the internal editor being switched off, it felt like unguarded whole brain thinking!

  6. I'm glad you tried it, Victoria! I also try to think through scenes as I wake up. I ended up writing 2 pages in bed yesterday morning.




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