If I Hear One More Person Say Night Owls are More Creative I’m Going to Punch Them in the Mouth…

One of the trending stories recently on Elite Daily is that Night Owls are more creative than early birds, even though early birds are more productive. This is the kind of story that’s like herpes. It keeps going away, and coming back no matter how much you pray it away.

I’m usually pretty okay with these sensational stories whenever they get bandied about. After all, we’re in the age of sensational headlines.

Why do you think I wrote I was going to punch somebody in the mouth in the open? I mean, it’s all marketing.

But I’ve been hearing this story for years and it needs to die. I heard it while I was getting up before school and wrote blog posts. I heard it while I was awake in the dead of night writing movie scripts before work. I hear it now after finishing my fifth novel while getting up at 4am most mornings.

And it drives me up a wall. I know they are not talking about the outliers and that could be where I fall, but I am highly creative AND highly productive.

What’s worse? This sort of story is not only sensational, but it puts those two things at odds with each other.

“If you are creative you don’t have to be productive, right? I mean the internet told me so. I can just stay up late waiting for my muse to strike, and so what if I don’t get anything done tomorrow.”

Wrong.

Creativity doesn’t just strike, and being a night owl isn’t an excuse to not get anything done all day, just like being an early bird doesn’t give you an excuse to be a rigid task master.

On the other side, it gives people an excuse for why they don’t follow their creativity. “Well, I get up early so there’s no way I can write my novel.”

It’s just the right kind of study that gives everybody the perfect excuse not to do a thing.

And the thing is, the study might be right…but it doesn’t matter. Because in order to be successful you need to be both highly creative and highly productive.

You need to sit down at 9am and write. You can’t wait for the muse to strike. At the same time, you have to be able to creatively fit round pegs into square holes all day in order to be productive.

It’s just like when people say I’m creative because I’m left handed. Well maybe that’s true, but I still choke that creativity out of me like it’s a bottle of toothpaste, get it down on a page, force myself to rewrite it, and get it published.

Even though night owls have have a proclivity to creativity, that means nothing. I’ve met plenty of people with a proclivity for greatness that end up washing floors because the have no plan.

Creativity doesn’t just strike, and being a night owl isn’t an excuse to not get anything done all day, just like being an early bird doesn’t give you an excuse to be a rigid task master.

Now please can I stop hearing about this stupid study before I punch somebody in the mouth?

Russell Nohelty is a publisher, writer, and consultant. He owns the indie publisher Wannabe Press (www.wannabepress.com), where he puts out rebellious content for sharp minds. He also has a podcast called The Business of Art (www.thebusinessofart.us) where he shows creatives how to run businesses better.