"When" Writing - Six in the Morning

There are many instances in songwriting where we want to quickly show the listener what time of day it is, so this is a really great exercise to practise the language we might use to achieve that. Try writing about 6am today. If you are feeling really keen you could set your alarm clock and get some direct experience into your system! Remember to stay attuned to your senses.

The fuse reaches the end of its tether, sleep detonated as the shell-shock of the day already sinks in. This sacred chamber, how could have I wallowed downstairs late at night when I could have spent more time here. The duvet is my final fortress, but I have to leave this safety into the cold battlefield of the day ahead.


The ocean is a purple cauldron of foam and ink, churning steam upwards to the sky, stinging my red, weary eyes. Putrescine rises from the skein of seaweed, tangled with trapped flopping minnows and half-evaporated globs of jellyfish, the blood rushes to my cheeks and embraces them warmly, my heartbeat hastens in gratuitous warning. The moon is brightened, but the golden wash of sunrise has not yet broken the smelly, stygian sand. I saw the sun tear through the horizon yesterday, and have not slept since. The empty bottle of whiskey in my hand offers me a sweet, stale stench to welcome the orange yellow orb today, and offers a blurry view the pink brush strokes swirling among cotton candy clouds. Through a throbbing skull, my stomach releases a portion of past-nourishment into my palate. The sour bitter remains there for a moment before I swallow what I can and spit the rest for the scurrying sand crabs to get stuck in. Here’s to you, new day! May you bring a calm, disgusting continuance for all who dare meet you.


Really good use of consistent imagery. The weaponry and militaristic symbolism is perfect as solders are known to start their days early. The only critique I have is that I didn’t really get a clear “early morning” sense from reading this. But, the painting of a night full of tossing and trying unsuccessfully to sleep is wonderful.


Once again I contemplate snooze, roll outta bed and get the news, nothing much surprises these days as i feel the first of the hot suns rays. It’s at this juncture where the day is made, where we first get a chance to decide on our ways.

The corners of my eyes resist the shrieking call from my nightstand. My face is still heavy with half remembered scenes from the night. A gray light slats through the gaps to the outside world. The strange, familiar rhythm of rubber streaking across wet pavement drifts into my room. The sound nauseates me as I search the weighted comfort of my blankets for some semblance of silence. Even my evening escape was heart throbbing, flushed-faced fever dreams, furious and unrelenting, and lethargy leaves a leaden cast in my mattress.


Really good! I love the consistent use of battle/war imagery that ties the scene together and is a potent metaphor.

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While your rhyming is fine, it means that some of the depth of writing about the object and delving into your senses are missed. The internal conflict of whether or not to hit the snooze button is a good image that could be explored more in depth. Where does that groggy feeling go? Here, you went right from a groggy wake up to reading the newspaper. Reading the newspaper while the first rays of the sun are coming is a beautiful image, and you could have dug in deeper. What does it look like as the initial sunlight washes over that page, as the text is revealed line by line. How does that affect the smell of the paper. Try describing that juncture of night and day a little more, what sounds do you hear at that time? What senses are tingling there? This is not meant to be a harsh critique, but to help you with object writing. You really want to dig deep into your senses. You are not trying to write a song, you are trying to show sensory perception. From that, songs with deeper feeling can be made. Good job and keep creating!

That first sentence though! I feel the sleep in my eyes as the alarm comes. Beautifully done. You paint the groggy feeling wonderfully in the second sentence. The conflict presented by the safety and comfort of bed and the awakening outside (potentially hazardous) world is awesome. This is a really amazing job.

Really cool imagery though I’ve read through it a few times and I’m not sure what the metaphor of the ocean means and how it relates to six am (that’s not necessarily a bad thing haha) Your sensory descriptions are on point and do convey a sense of chaos and mystery of the night bleeding into a new dawn that seems self deprecating and darkly humorous.

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The grass still wet with dew, sustaining the life force of the earth like the mothers breast milk sustains a newborn. The smell of fresh air is intoxicating, clearing the lungs of any toxins of modernity, breathing in vitality and spirit. The silence is heavy, only your beating heart and the kookaburras rise to greet the sun and laugh at the joy the new day brings. The purple, pink and blue melt together in a orgy of colours stretching across an infinite sky. Coffee is a sedative compared with the light and beauty of the morning twilight.

I like it! The battle of everyday life is overwhelming and using war imagery shows the grit we all have to get up and face it!


reading this I felt like a pirate hungover and watching the sunrise on some tropical beach

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You are correct, the ocean imagery has nothing to do with six in the morning (other than I live near the ocean and have spent many a sleepless nights sitting and watching the sunrise there). After reading through the other posts, I do think I missed the mark a little on relating to six AM, and more generally just dawn (which, currently here is around 7:10), so it is not even correct timing. Thank you for your feedback, and I will definitely keep it in mind for the next exercise.

The dew bringing life to the day by bringing life to the world is a super strong image, especially with your simile. That second sentence also brings a peace that comes with a new day, the “toxins of modernity” is a cool image, and I feel the cathartic sting in my chest. That final contrast of coffee as a sedative is wonderfully composed and shows the energetic appreciation of the dawning new day.

The phone excitedly sings and dances its way across the bedside table, the table which stoically absorbs such pneumatic vibration. Panic sets in as I blindly reach to diffuse this screaming device, fumbling around books and knocking objects until I clutch the offending machine, pressing any available button in a desperate plea for a moments more silence. The dream I was having fades through the haze of my mind as my eyes peep open to see the curtains off-duty with no invading light this early from which to defend me from.

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Hi Andrew and welcome to the community :wave:

Well done getting started! Yes the main thing we are trying to do is to tap into our senses, the hypothesis being that the closer we can communicate our raw sensory experience to the reader/listener, the more they will engage with the words on the page. I’ve written a little bit about the art of object writing here. The rays coming through the curtain paint a vivid picture - so more of that is what we are after :slight_smile:

Well done and I look forward to reading more tomorrow!

I really like how you have stayed consistent with the metaphor all the way through. Later on in the course the exercises involve talking about one object using the language world of another object (spoiler alert), so this is a great primer.

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I think the last sentence is my highlight! You’ve really captured that sense of just not being able to move - well done!

A really optimistic look at the new day, I like this a lot. Coffee as a sedative is beautifully crafted well done!