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Midnight Writing


I caught part of a show called Wide Awake last night.  Actually, it was a documentary about a man’s experience with insomnia.  The part I caught hit home, however.  I’d like to see the entire thing.

I go through pretty serious bouts with insomnia.  Usually when I have difficult things on my mind or I hit a part of my writing where I’m anxious to finish.  The night before catching this movie, I was up until four a.m. writing.  I had decided to dump an entire chapter and rewrite it from scratch.  It’s a long chapter.  I covered a fight scene and a love scene in it and I was so into it, I blinked awake to finally catch the time.  I had to pry my fingers from the keyboard and my body from the chair.  I wrote over six thousand words in one sitting and though I haven’t gone back to look at it, I was so deep into my character’s head, I have a feeling it won’t need a lot of rewrites.  Hope so anyway.

In the movie, the narrator talks about how the middle of the night is the best time for creative people.  But the rest of the world doesn’t and really can’t comply to our time table. 

I would like nothing better than to write until two or three every night and sleep until nine, but the world isn’t on that schedule–even my husband isn’t.  Unfortunately, if he stays up that late, he still gets up early.  Seven is sleeping in for him, big time. 

With summer, I can sleep in a little–both my kids sleep late.  But again, the outside world moves on.  Phones ring and I think my neighbors have their lawn people coming several times a week now… And on the weekends, there for awhile, one neighbor’s gun jerked me out of catch up sleep.  He uh, has hunting dogs and is training them to noise.  Too bad I have to be trained along with them.

And since the kids are home for summer, weird thing is, even if they give me a few hours to myself, I’m still distracted.  Little things like the constant in and out, extra noisy little boys running around who can’t seem to stay out of trouble, lunch as well as dinner–even if lunch is usually pretty easy stuff–the TV, loud music that flares out of nowhere… and okay, the constant mommy voice that whispers things like:

     “Are you really going to let him play video games all day?” 

     “He’s been running the neighborhood for a couple of hours, shouldn’t you start making calls?  But, those calls always end up being sooo long…”

     “She’s a teenager and yeah, needs sleep… but most of the day?  Better get her up and give her something constructive to do.”

     “Any minute, she’s going to ask you to drive her somewhere and it isn’t fair to make her sit around all summer…”

So, night time seems to work for writing.  There is something magical about the hours after midnight.  It’s so quiet. But, when you do start to set this schedule, your mind gets used to it.  Last night, exhausted, I went to bed at midnight and ended up listening to the storms and staring at shadows for two or more hours.  

Another fact I caught in the movie is that our brains need sleep and someone who has been awake for more than 24 hours has the same response time as someone who’s been drinking heavily. 

Hey!  Maybe that explains my ADD summer days here. <g>  

Edit:  My friend Terri’s latest fantasy romance is available at Samhain and it looks very, very good!

388.jpg The Saints of Midland


  1. CJ CJ
    June 14, 2007    

    I’m still fighting my own brand of insomnia. Drop right off to sleep then wake up around 3 AM, takes about 1 hour to go back to sleep. I overslept again today and woke up 10 minutes before I was supposed to be at work.

  2. June 14, 2007    

    I wish I could stay up that late. I know I am more creative and active in the nocturnal hours. I have had a review to write for two weeks and just got it done at 11pm on Monday. Now, I sit biting my nails to see if it gets sent back for editing. JUST SAY NO!!!

    I also got a gig as a ‘ghost writer’ of sorts for someone, so I had to submit something for that too.. YEAH ME! no edits please.. JUST SAY NO!!!

    For me, after 9pm are the ‘witching’ hours… that is when all is (or is supposed to be) quiet in my house. Everyone is off in their cubbies and I am left to zone on the tv or stare endlessly into the computer screen until some miraculous idea pops into my head.

    Then of course there are those odd shower moments when and idea slams into your head and you just have no way to write it down! I really hate it when that happens!!

  3. June 14, 2007    

    Six thousand words?! Awesome.

    Number one and I are having issues with my need to stay up until the wee hours of the morning working. He wants me to go to bed and be healthy, but I work best in the middle of the night, when everything is quiet and…well, dead.

    Sigh. I feel your pain.

  4. June 14, 2007    

    This is me and it’s driving me batty. Ever since the kids got out of school, my brain knows I don’t have to wake up at 6AM, so I’ve been staying up until 3AM writing. And if my husband is in town, I have to accomodate him. (He doesn’t like falling asleep alone. Whoda thunk it?) And then the boys wake me up early because they’re whining for food. They must think I’m their mother or something. 😉

  5. June 17, 2007    

    That’s so interesting, about the wee hours being best for creativity. I’d never heard that before but it certainly explains alot. Back in the old days when the kids didn’t have to be in school until 9 am I always stayed up late to write. This getting up at 5 crap is seriously messing with my head. Make it stop!

  6. June 18, 2007    

    I got up at six this morning for the hubby. It’s Sunday morning and to me… well, that’s just wrong. But he gets up no matter what and it’s Father’s Day, so I made him a nice breakfast. He said it was true love when Rinda gets up at six on a Sunday morning to cook. 😉

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