'Midnight' is the the GBE 2 topic for this week:
I’ve always been a night owl, never a morning person. When I was a child, I used to read under the covers with a flashlight long after my parents thought I must be asleep. Maybe not until midnight but certainly much later than my supposed ‘bed-time’.
As a teenager, I’d turn off my light, wait until my parents went to bed (probably about 10.30 or 11pm) then switch on my light again and either read or continue writing the next chapter of my current story, for my friends to read avidly the next day. Okay, those early romances of mine were very corny but my friends enjoyed them!
For a lot of my adult life, I had to cease burning the midnight oil. Baby era - 10pm feed, get some sleep before she wakes again; 25 year teaching era – gotta get up at 6.30am, need to get to bed early.
Not all the time though. When I worked backstage in amateur musical theatre, rehearsals were held at a local sports club which, being a private club, could stay open long after the statutory closing time for licensed premises. We stayed too, often until midnight, although that made it doubly hard to get up the next morning.
Show week itself was even worse. Adrenalin-fuelled, we needed time to unwind after the show, so it was often well after midnight before we left the theatre bar.
I never had any problem staying up late, the problem came the next morning when I had to get up early to go to school. To my credit, I have to say, I was never late for school, although not necessarily alert and raring to go!
My colleagues got wise to me. It was summed up by one of them: “Never ask Paula a question before 10.30am if you want a sensible answer from her.”
Then came retirement. Oh wow, freedom. To do what I want, when I want! And that included staying up as late as I wanted, because I didn’t have to get up at (to me) some silly o’clock time in the morning. I usually get up about 8am (which I claim is my 'natural waking-up time) but most of my friends still know not to call me until after 10am.
I discovered long ago that I do my best writing at night. I may have a whole day free (sometimes!) but day-time writing doesn’t work for me. My mind works so much better from about 10pm onwards. My muse is obviously a night-owl too.
I’m full of admiration for people who can get up at 6am and start writing. But me? No way! I’m a midnight writer.