The world thinks very highly of people who get up early. They're famously the ones who get all the worms, which doesn't actually sound that great, unless it's a metaphor for something.
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Is it spaghetti? Is the metaphor spaghetti? Are you people who get up early eating tons of spaghetti?
I'm the opposite, a natural night owl with little interest in pecking at the ground for worms, even if that does present some disadvantages. Because staying up late is still regarded as a bit of an immature thing to do, a habit of energy-drink-fueled teens, wasting their lives Snapchatting pictures of their assholes to each other. Grown-ups are people who get up early and go to their businesses and do business stuff with briefcases and judge us shadow people with their judginess.
They'd think differently, though, if they knew our dark, yawning secrets.
5Nighttime Is the Best Time to Get Stuff Done
I should clarify: this is the best time to get stuff done if that stuff doesn't require natural light. The nighttime is a pretty shitty time to do yard work, for example.
Or solar measurements.
But it's great for doing anything indoorsy, for a few possible reasons. Some studies have found that night owls are more creative than others, and sure that's flattering and all, in the way that cherry-picking studies that compliment you can be. But there's more to it than just innate creativity; when you're up late there are fewer people around to disturb you from your great works.
"This will be my masterpiece."
Slate did a great feature last year about the working habits of famous writers and artists, and they found that an inordinate number of them were either early birds or night owls. The probable reason for this is that it's far easier to get creative work done when no one else is awake to call you, or knock on the door, or hug you, or engage in some other awful bonding moment.
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I do a bit of writing myself, and I can tell you that a key step in the process of writing something good is first writing several things that are awful. It's the revisions where the magic happens, but you need something, even something awful, to revise in the first place. It's a lot easier to do this when no one else is around to see what your diseased mind has conjured; I honestly have no idea how people write in busy public places like coffee shops.
It couldn't be an affectation, could it?
And that doesn't even get into the really weird stuff that can be useful during the creative process. Physically talking to yourself is a great way to frame sentences and arguments before setting them down on the page, in much the same way that it's a great way to get kicked out of coffee shops. Even if you're in your home, it's a lot more mentally comfortable beaking at yourself after everyone else has gone to bed. Same deal with getting comfortable, whether it's sprawling across the couch or wearing your most comfortable, least socially acceptable clothes.
E.g., my composition support strap.
4Everything Sucks at Night
The other main reason the night is a great time to get stuff done is nothing else is going on. Television is famously garbage at night; with no one important watching, there's no reason for networks to air particularly good programming, leaving this the domain of infomercials and third-tier talk shows and movies you've seen many times before.
It is always worth feeling like crap the next day to see Casino again.
But even something as dynamic as the Internet gets pretty crappy late at night. None of your favorite websites are updating, leaving you with the same dull, hours-old content with every F5. Most of the online communities and social networking sites go into semi-hibernation as well, as do online games, if they don't fill up with people from countries that speak English all wrong.
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"You'd better not have told me to suck what I think you told me to suck."
And the food is way worse. No restaurants worth speaking of are open at this time, so night owls are stuck with whatever they can make themselves. And because other people in the house are sleeping, and we've got our great works to get back to, proper meals are usually forgone in favor of snacking. Corn snacks and corn-based beverages are typical, often supplemented by massive amounts of caffeine and whatever chemicals are needed to make them "fruitastic." Consider my energy drink of choice, which, no bullshit, includes the following ingredients:
Sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, D-calcium pantothenate, niacinamide, inositol, anthocyanins, pyridoxine, and cyanocobalamin.
And, yeah, I know that using a long, scary chemical name to imply a product is dangerous is a cheap rhetorical trick; consider that acetic acid is nothing more than vinegar and dihydrogen monoxide is water. And, although I'm fully confident all of those chemicals have been approved for human consumption by a man with a clipboard -- a lot of the above are just colorings and vitamins -- holy shit does that ever look like a list of bomb ingredients.
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Which I credit for my explosive prose.
There are totally illegal substances with less complicated chemistry going on. Which might be another explanation for the creative surge night owls feel at night -- we're all lubed up with massive quantities of undiscovered hallucinogens.