The Reason Dostoevsky Preferred to Work at Night


Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821 – 1888) usually liked to work through the night. With tea, cigarettes, and sweets as fuel, he could pull several all-nighters to write his novels. He told a friend through a letter why he preferred to do his business at night:

It is night now; the hands of the clock are approaching six. The town is waking up, but I have not gone to bed yet. And the doctors say that I must not overexert myself, that I must sleep at night and not sit for ten or twelve hours at a stretch huddled over my writing desk. Why do I write at night? Well, as soon as I wake up around one (P.M.), there is a ring at the door; someone has come to ask me for something, someone else wants something else, a third person comes with some request or other, a fourth demands that I shall resolve some request or other, a fifth demands that I shall resolve some quite unresolvable “accursed question” for him—otherwise I’ll go shoot myself, he says. (And this is the first time I have seen him.)…When will I get the time to think, to work, to read, to live?

Dostoyevsky also worked during the day. In fact, he simultaneously wrote The Gambler and Crime and Punishment — two of his greatest novels. So, he had to write day and night to finish them.

Reference (Click to Show)

Geir Kjetsaa (1987). Fyodor Dostoyevsky: A Writer’s Life.


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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

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