Writing Poems at 3am

I don’t consider myself a poet.

I used to write a lot of sub-par poetry in high school and in the early years of college, but I grew out of the habit. It wasn’t a loss, more of transition. The style of writing most natural to me is prose, so I focused more on that and less on my (often cringe inducing) attempts at verse. While it is not my “go-to” form, I do write the occasional poem when the mood strikes, or when the words seem to arrange themselves in my mind.

Lately, inspiration has struck at 3 am.

I’ve been having some trouble sleeping. Maybe it was the dose of levothyroxine I’ve been taking, my allergies, or the intense dreams I’ve been having, but I have woken up between the hours of 2:30am and 4:00am for the last week. I’ve had insomnia in the past, especially as I am more of a night owl to begin with. Generally my insomnia takes the form of staying up to late, and watching the sun rise in the morning. I’ve never been the kind of person to wake up in the middle of my sleep cycle. But, this week I have. I have woken with a jolt around 3 am and feel the intense desire to jot down my thoughts.

I’ve heard that 3am is a magic hour.

I have Wiccan friends who link 3am with magic, and superstitious friends who call 3am “Demon hour”. Personally, I don’t believe any of this. What I do believe is that the groggy, barely woken state does allow our subconscious more room to play. With our conscious mind still too tired to function in full, our usual rationality, practicality, and self-doubt are pushed down. This is why many writers, artists, and musicians advise practicing your art ate at night or early in the morning, when sky is still dark.

The words write themselves.

At 3:00 the morning, after a night of intense dreams, the words seem to write themselves. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, and therefore I’ve had a lot of write about. The problem was that my conscious mind wasn’t sure how to say what I needed to express. The poems are rough, and unmarketable. They aren’t stylish, deep, or beautiful. If I am honest with myself, they are a little cliche and border on cringy– but they are exactly what I needed to release.

Insomnia is obviously not the answer to any creative block you may have, and it isn’t something I would advise anyone to purposely attempt. However, writing when you first awake (at whatever time is best for your health) and grabbing at pen and paper could help you to unleash thoughts you didn’t know you have. Who knows? Maybe you will find yourself writing poems at 3am too.


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