Crystal Kamm

Written by

Crystal Kamm

15 June 2021


Writer’s Routines: Writing at Night

Are you a nighttime writer? Does writing at night yield your best ideas? If your best ideas come to you just before bed you’re keeping company with some of our famous authors like T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Barack Obama, Danielle Steele, and more! Keep reading to see whether any of these authors’ processes remind you of your own.

The hour is midnight and the library is deep, carried like a dreaming child into the darkness of these pages.

Richard Brautigan describing his nighttime writing process

Many of our favorite and most well-known authors like to write at night. After all, night is the time when most people are winding down, going home. or going to bed. Finally, writers get what they so often need: peace and quiet. This was Stefanie Meyer’s reason for writing Twilight at night after her children went to bed.

The drama of writing at night

But nighttime writers can be a bit dramatic, as you can see by the quotes scattered at random through this post. That makes sense, considering they are often left completely to their own devices, undisturbed in the act of writing. Some of these authors include Robert Frost, who always stayed up late writing, along with Alan Ginsberg, Pablo Neruda, Charles Dickens, and Sylvia Plath. In some of these authors’ works, the darkness of their writing time is evidenced in the darkness of their written work.

A child forming itself finger by finger in the dark.

Sylvia Plath describing her nighttime writing process

Some writers write late at night, not because it’s when the Muse strikes, but because that’s when it must strike. Author Susan Rebecca White would work long day shifts at a Middle Eastern restaurant, then come home smelling of hummus and lamb and write long into the night. Tennessee Williams wrote after long days working at a shoe store. Franz Kafka after his day job at an insurance company, and T.S. Eliot after working in the bank. And we all know what Barack Obama was doing all day which required him to do his writing in the evenings!

But there are also other reasons why writers choose to write at night. Vladimir Nabokov suffered from insomnia throughout his adult life and used the time to write his many novels.

Working at night isn’t limited to writers but extends to other artists as well, like Bob Dylan.

If your prime time for writing is at night, you are in good company! If you’re a nighttime writer, share your routine in the comments! We’d love to hear how it works for you.