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The Right Time To Write

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I’ve got a writing predicament over here and I don’t know quite how to fix it. 

It’s not the usual problem, like a muddled middle, a runaway plot, or a flat character. It’s a bit more complicated and a lot more embarrassing. On the other hand, I feel like my writing friends will understand. 

Because I need a little validation, a smidgen of compassion. But then again, I might get a swift kick in the laptop instead. Anyway, here goes:

I can only write under certain circumstances and that’s about to change! 

Whew. It’s a relief to finally say it out loud. 

Except I sense you might be confused, struggling as it were to get on board the Cathy C. Hall Support Train. So let me explain further. 

As you may recall, I’m working on an adult mystery. I started the serious writing in the fall, and then NaNo came along (in November) when I set a goal that would require a certain amount of discipline. Fortunately, my discipline paid off with a writing routine that has taken me through this very day. But now I’ve got a big problem looming. 

Hmmm. Maybe you need to understand the routine a little better to fully grasp the enormity of the situation. Picture this: Every day around 6:00 PM in my corner of the world, dusk is settling in and I turn on one lamp where the glow spreads across my desk, casting a dappled shadow. The temperature has started to drop so I fire up my space heater to take off the chill and more often than not, a hot cup of tea sits next to the keyboard. As the sun sets, I’m typing away; the room grows darker, colder, a hush falls with nothing but the steady buzz of a heater to keep me company. But then a snap, a crack! What was that outside? Did someone just pass by my window? A shiver runs down my spine as I glance behind my chair. 

Could it be any more obvious? Six o’clock is perfect for cozy mystery writing! And after a solid hour, sometimes two, I have another five hundred words written and/or edited (more or less). 

For four months, it’s been the absolute right time to write. And I’ve got just a few chapters left. But now, when I sit down to write at 6:00 PM, the dadburn sun is still kinda shining. Birds are chirping. Happy little kids are playing outside. How am I supposed to write a mystery with all that going on? 

I need my shadows, a hint of intrigue in the air. I crave secrets, the darker, the better. I WANT THAT HAUNTED FEELING. 

It’s a huge challenge, y’all. And here’s the embarrassing part: I don’t think I can switch it up. 

Am I to suddenly start writing at 8:00 PM? My brain is winding down then; I’m deciding whether to watch a Friends episode or something on Netflix. Not to mention that I’d have to eat around 6:00 and that leads to digestive torpor, right? 

There’s always the afternoon, you say. But that’s for business writing and such. Am I to change my entire writing schedule at this advanced stage of my career? There’s mornings, though. Bright and early, greeting the day!


It’s a predicament that only other writers can appreciate. To wit, I finally find the right time to write and the universe comes along and ruins it.

(Tell me I’m not the only crazy one! Do you have a right time to write? And why?)

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