Many freelance writers work during the day, giving them the time to do whatever they want at night. I am not one of these people. For the right to call myself a freelance journalist, I’m required to work a full-time job during the day and write whenever I can after getting home from work. Usually, it’s late at night. Very late at night.
For instance, as I write this, it’s after midnight on a Friday night. That’s right, instead of being social on a Friday night, I’m sitting home banging out articles. I was actually invited to go out and meet a friend for some drinks, but instead I stayed home to meet my professional obligations. Two hours later after turning down the invite, I’ve barely gotten anything done.
Working at night brings about a delicate blend of exhaustion, procrastination and insanity. It’s hard to get going, especially after a long day of work and kid stuff. But when I get into a groove, it’s intoxicating. The time on the clock doesn’t matter. The fatigue I’ll feel in the morning doesn’t matter. It’s just me and the screen in front of me, and in that moment, something magic happens.
Of course, getting that magic to appear isn’t exactly easy. Every writer knows the subject of procrastination all too well, and that’s especially true when you’re flat-out exhausted. But the show must go on, and I often have to dig deep into my bag of tricks to get the ball rolling. Sometimes it’s music (metal, played loudly through headphones). Sometimes it’s sports or a old wrestling match. Sometimes it’s going somewhere, anywhere, so that I’ll focus on working as opposed to the comforts of home.
Going out isn’t as easy as it is for our daytime brethren. A freelance writer who works during the day has no shortage of writing destinations. Being a nighttime writer requires an intricate knowledge of WiFi-enabled locations, their hours, and their policies regarding loitering. In my case, I’m even knowledgeable about which places still have working WiFi after they close, so that I can keep momentum going in my car.
I know this sounds insane, especially to someone who has set hours during the day and doesn’t deviate from those times. But as much as I complain about the stress and lack of sleep, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Like most other night people, I’m at my peak creativity late at night. It makes things not entirely normal, but it also makes them a lot more exciting. And I think my clients are better off as a result.
Now that we’re well into Saturday morning, I should be winding down and getting ready for bed. But now I’m in the zone, and I have more work to do. And I know I’m going to nail it. I’ll worry about sleep some other time.
Writer Bio: Bryan B is a freelance writer based in Long Island, NY. He really should make more of an effort to get to bed earlier.