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Have You Tried Writing First Thing in the Morning?

Each morning I wake up fresh from dreaming and spill it out on the blank page, coloring it with emotions, anguish and joy, be as it may, with no direction, purpose or censorship.

Frequently called the morning pages, it is a warmup practice adopted by many fiction writers. I sometimes fill the notebook with nonsense. Actually, most times. But amid the gibberish, I sometimes find gems, kernels of stories, or characters.

Have you ever tried writing first thing in the morning before you’ve really woken up properly? Or like I asked in my other blog, have you ever written in the dark?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • isthatso says:

    Thanks for the follow!
    Early morning is far and away my most productive time to write. My thought process is its clearest, the rest of the world is asleep, and I begin the day by affirming who & what I really am – a writer. The rest of the day is research…

  • Hi Damyanti. I was interested to read about your morning ritual of free writing. I’d like to give it a try sometime, as well as writing in the dark. You’ve got a great blog, I’m looking forward to reading some more articles!

  • First thing is all that works for me. Things just seem to flow. If I could only have 4-5 mornings per day my thesis would be done!

  • Morgan says:

    Fortunately, I am blessed with a superfluity of words all day long.

  • Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    YUP. JUST DID!!!!

  • Not a morning person at ALL…so no. 🙂

  • jguenther5 says:

    I tried doing morning pages for a while. I found that I was waking earlier and earlier to do the pages, and often couldn’t go back to sleep. The output was not useful, in any way that I could discern, so I stopped.

    It’s not a bad idea idea to try, though. It originated in 1934 with Dorothea Brande in her book, “Becoming a Writer.”

  • I often write in the early morning (around 6) and surprisingly frequently I’m happy with the results. I guess that this goes back to my days at boarding school when I had to get up at about 7 am.

  • charlieray45 says:

    I write early in the morning regularly – often with the lights low so I don’t wake my wife. I find that often, my thoughts are more clear just after I wake up, and when I’ve dreamed about a particular passage I’ve been working on, it’s best to write it down while I still remember it clearly. And yes, I’m one of those strange people who remember dreams.

  • I concur! I am most productive when writing is the first task I undergo in the day. But some of my highest quality writing also strikes me during contemplative afternoons. And every so often the write grabs me at night, when I’m lying peaceful, awaiting sleep.

    When I’m actually working on a project (novel or article), morning is best. 7 to 10 AM is my favorite window, but I am also a big fan of the 9AM to 1PM stretch.

  • sued51 says:

    Yes, I have been journal-writing for most of my life, but then, I’m a morning person…I’m too mentally exhausted to write at the end of the day.

  • I used to do this very regularly, hardly missing a day, but I’m a bit out of the habit. Thanks for the reminder:-)

  • Gabriela says:

    I heard of it but I am not a morning person. T_T And If I do manage to wake up early, at 6 AM (High-School starts at 7 AM), I spend all that time getting ready and being late for class.

    As I said in my other comment on your *Do you warm up…? post, I do that mentally anyway. It’s great if you could write it down too but I guess it’d have to do for now as my schedule is pretty hectic.

  • debblogs says:

    I enjoy writing in the morning after downing a strong cup of coffee (to bring me out of my usual morning haze). I haven’t tried writing in the dark but I’ll give it a go. Thanks for sharing all the good advice.

  • J. Michael Palmer says:

    The only thing that guarantees a good day of writing for me is starting out first thing, before I click on anything else. Before I tried it I thought I had to give my brain time to warm up by reading news articles or something, but I think that morning fogginess actually helps block out extraneous thoughts. It gives my brain focus. Sometimes writing advice actually works!

  • Tracy says:

    I resisted writing in the morning because I’m so tired and grumpy in the morning, but then I started reading The Artist’s Way, and doing the morning pages, and it’s made such a big difference in my life! Great suggestion 🙂

  • I always write first thing in the morning. Often wake up with fuzzy dream remnants that might make a good story/phrase if they are sorted out. Later, once the real world kicks in, I find writing becomes more laborious.

  • jannatwrites says:

    I have not written in the mornings (I’d have to wake up at 4am, and I can’t make myself do it.) I bet it does make for some interesting writing, though 🙂

  • This is a great idea. I’ll have to implement it from now on

  • I’ve written at all hours when I was writing under a deadline, even in the dark with a candle when the electricity went out. LOL. Now I set my own pace.

  • The Guat says:

    I’m not an early riser, but definitely an night owl. So I tend to write in the dark 🙂

  • susanscottsa says:

    dreams I always (just about always) record even if at 4.14 a.m. But writing in the a.m.? Need my tea first, a little later coffee, and all other things being equal, then I may write …

  • tchistorygal says:

    I write drizzle in the mornings, sometimes meeting the computer before I say hi to my husband who gets up in the middle of the night, just after I’ve gone to sleep properly. Good luck with writing every day on your blog. I have done that, and find it difficult to keep up. 🙂 Thanks for visiting my blog! 🙂 I’ll be following this one. I could always use more tips about writing! 🙂

  • Monica Lee says:

    I’ve blogged about my dreams, but when I look back at those posts, I just laugh. I’m so stupid sometimes.

  • I get up at 5:30 on school days to drink my coffee and write before the kids get up for school. Worth setting the alarm clock.

  • Yes I have! And often I find it turns out to be writing I am happy with 🙂 I think it has something to do with being able to think with clarity, before my mind is assaulted and distracted by what the rest of my day usually brings.

  • Jim Miyamoto says:

    I think it’s really important to find the time to sift through what you’ve experienced – if you don’t, you might not even realise what you’re missing. I’m more of a late night writer; but it’s good to find some time on the edges of the day when you’re not swamped by never-ending urgencies.

    I posted something about this just now. I hope it’s not rude to put a link here – I’m unclear on the etiquette – please tell me if it’s a faux pas!

    Looking forward to exploring your writing! (Hi, by the way ^^)

  • Shainbird says:

    Sometimes I leave my laptop at my bedside, and grabbed it one morning and wrote some complete thoughts. It was wonderful and very concentrated because there were no other forces except those within me. I also like writing in the dark very late, with the bright screen against the dark background, ideas start floating, literally, it is weird fun. Although, being around people and interruptions have given me a few good pieces too. Happy writing Damyanti! You bring such good stuff to writers through your blog! Thanks 🙂

  • That’s a really lovely idea. I also really like practising stream of consciousness writing – it’s really great for getting started on new projects because you come up with all these great ideas that you can’t necessarily come across when you actively ‘think’ about it.

  • Yes on both counts but I don’t make a regular habit of it.

  • Verity R says:

    I saw your morning writing post just as I was thinking about doing a quick post this morning. I have been rather slow, almost stuck with writing recently so you inspired me to get on and do it! Thanks.

  • Seb says:

    I only ever work at night. That’s the last of my habits that I have failed to shake myself up over. Night, quiet. concentration…

  • words4jp says:

    I sort of write in the morning – while I drive to work. I am writing in my head.

  • Carolyn Dekat says:

    I know I need to rein in the speed of life when I start missing my morning write for more than a day or two running.

  • I have never written in the morning, but I write at night, after all the miseries and beauties of the day are heavy on my mind. I think I might try morning writing. And writing in the dark is something to experience, definitely.

  • Bugburrypond says:

    I love this! I kept a dream journal for years but haven’t used it for a while. I do most of my book writing in the afternoon & light writing here and there throughout the night. Definitely not a morning person 🙂

  • BookAddict says:

    No because I’m really not a morning person. I work nights so I tend to do my writing after work before bed.

  • Dave says:

    Years ago I used to do this. At the time it was helpful, but these days I’m just not worth much in the morning. I usually end up writing in the evening, but that has its own problems, e.g., feeling guilty because I’m alone in my office writing instead of doing other things.

  • I need those fresh hours for other thinking. The day goes downhill from morning!

  • Sorry, my brain doesn’t engage until many hours later. I write best in the evening.

  • meenas17 says:

    Morning brings a freshness .
    Writing in the morn usually brings the best of you.

  • I tend to write in the evening. I’m not worth much to anyone in a morning!

  • Alex J says:

    I have before, but not so much later. I read this and thought to myself, “yeah I’m going to do that right now–well, after I have a cup of coffee and walk the dog and…” Then next thing you know it’ll be bedtime and the opportunity has passed me by. Mornings I have succeeded at writing first thing, I easily got a few thousand words out that day and, more importantly, enjoyed doing so!

    But seriously, after this cup of coffee and a dog walking…

    -Alex J

  • cate b says:

    First thing in the morning? I would like to try that after a gallon of coffee and eye drops – LOL – but I’m curious now…. Thank you for this. 😀

  • Sometimes I write first thing in the morning. It’s not easy unless I’m fully awake. I’m more inclined to write in the dark with no light but the glow of my computer screen. I’ve had many great writing sessions in almost pitch black darkness.

  • Steve Vernon says:

    I’m an early morning guy. I do my best writing long before the first crow caws.

  • darsword says:

    Thank you for the reminder. I used to do these AM pages. Often took me most of the day to fill the allotted pages but I did get a lot out of it. Guess I need to get back to it. Thanks!

  • I love to write in the dark late at night after everyone has gone to bed. I hunch over my laptop with its ghoulish light flooding my face until my eyes burn from lack of sleep. Best time for a word flood!

  • Kate is says:

    Yes. I need to get up pretty early before work to do it though, so then I have to get to bed earlier. Arhh why is everything so hard 🙂
    But I do like writing in the morning.

  • juddin97 says:

    Reblogged this on Complaints Of A Teenager and commented:
    This is a fantastic idea that I’m actually going to try out. Lately, I’ve been having these wacky ass dreams and I have no idea what they mean. I should write it down in case someone wants to read about the crazy things I dream about! 😀

  • Tuesday says:

    Mornings? Bah. I can barely think, much less write, in the morning. I do all my writing in the evening, usually last thing when I’m relaxed. I’ve never written in complete darkness, but I have written by candlelight and flashlight.

  • nakiasantos says:

    I love writing in the morning when my thoughts are fresh.

  • I do this …

  • febricated says:

    I haven’t try it yet because I used to go to school every morning. But, I tried writing when I go to bed and I can’t sleep because story ideas are keep on flowing. Have you experienced that too?

  • Every weekend I start with writing in the morning. Otherwise, I write in the evening from about 9 PM to 2 AM, and that is generally done in the dark with the exception of my glowing computer screen. Great question.

  • sarahremy says:

    I’ve tried, but I can’t do it. I’m just not a morning person. Luckily, my dreams are vivid enough to stay with me all day, and I usually have time to jot them down between gears in the daily grind.

  • SkyCorps says:

    I guess writing at 1-4AM counts as the morning….

    But as for actual “morning” (like first thing after waking up) no I don’t think I’ve tried that. Maybe I should give it a shot.

    I find for myself, writing at the end of a day (or at obscene times like 3AM) works well for me. It’s usually quite, dark, and I feel free from distractions.


  • I love to sit at my computer with my first cup of coffee and play with whatever scene I had been stuck on the day before. Fresh eyes and a clear head make for a new and sometimes better perspective. The coffee helps.

  • LFFL says:

    I blog whenever the mood strikes and my brain is ready to go!

  • J. Frye says:

    I write all the time 😀 I always have a notebook (pocket sized) nearby even when I sleep. I’ll often wake up and write in the middle of the night. I’ll even pull off the road to write something down quickly (or at a stoplight) on my way to work.

  • I love writing in the morning. The words just seem to flow when my brain is well rested. Writing in the evening brings too many of the day’s issues into my thought process.

  • Steve Feek says:

    Writing in the mornings are great but getting up every morning at 4 am so that I have two hours to write before I get ready for work at 6:30 is very difficult. Somevdays there are just not enough hours to the day.

  • milambc says:

    I’m a walking contradiction. I’m a night owl, but a morning person. I enjoy writing early in the morning, but late at night as well. Sometimes that contradiction — given that it is one — just does not jive, but I dig the mania of it…enables some good writing at times, I’d say.

  • The morning is easily the most productive part of the day writing-wise for me. If I don’t get at least 500 words done it’s not going to be a good day. Anything written later on is simply a nice bonus.

  • For a while I tried waking at 5 to write for an hour and then head to work. Didn’t really work for me because after an hour I’m warmed only to have to stop.

  • LindaGHill says:

    ….you don’t have kids waking you up every morning at 5, do you…?
    And that’s my answer. 🙂

  • I need to do this! I have vivid dreams that would be great stories but forget the details too quickly.

  • J.G. Chayko says:

    I love writing in the mornings. Of course, I also wake up in the middle of the night and write. I find a peace and freshness in the mornings and I can do my best writing before the rest of the world wakes up.

  • I hate mornings and it takes me a while to wake up, so nope.

  • I’ve tried and I don’t always understand my handwriting. I try for notes if I’m in really bad shape.

  • disperser says:

    No . . . I have a job.