Sometimes when I’m in the middle of writing a book, it becomes all consuming that it makes other tasks such as cleaning, working, watching TV, and even sleeping hard.
It’s during these times I hone my Super Power of zoning out and can actually miss entire conversations because I’m somewhere deep in thought about one of my characters or that pesky plot problem on page 2. My husband tends to hate these times, because he’ll have to repeat himself fifty times when asking the simplest questions such as “can you believe what they just said on the radio?” or even “hello, do you know your name?” Then I start to feel guilty that I’m not paying attention. It’s a vicious cycle.
As annoying as missing conversations is one of the most annoying things about intense writing periods is that is affects my sleep significantly. During this fast draft January, I think more than half the days this month I’ve been up “thinking” (no of course not writing that would be too productive) about my story into the wee hours of the morning. And many days I’m still up when the sun’s rising or even when alarms go off in the morning, which can cause problems when you have to wake up in an hour to go to work.
But hey, that’s the price of writing right?
Usually I’m not too frustrated because a lot of things also affect my sleeping (hello, how many of us have read an un-put-downable book through the night and paid for it the next day?—which has also been a culprit several days this month.)
But this particular writing conundrum is starting to annoy me enough that I decided to compile a list of ways to sleep even when your brain won’t shut up with thinking about the minute details of your story. And I doubted I was the only one in this situation, so I figured I’d share the list with you temporary writing insomniacs out there.
Tips on Getting Sleep During Writing Craziness:
- Try to do something else non-writing related before bed. Such as enjoying a TV show, music, or something else relaxing.
- Give yourself permission to stop thinking about your story. Sometimes people (meaning me) get intimidated when thinking of all the amazing people writing out there that they feel like they have to be working, working, working all the time just to turn out something decent. But give yourself permission to take a break. Even if it’s just for a night.
- Sometimes getting up and writing down what you are thinking will save you lots of time and energy. I discovered this when I was in high school and found if I gave into the writing urge, I could actually sleep. Now I always keep a notebook on my nightstand and usually keep my computer on at night, so it takes less time to power up when I get a particular thought that I have to write down. Because I’ve found if I obsess over mnemonic devices on ways to try to remember this brilliant idea (that never seems to be as brilliant when you read it over the next day, but that’s another story) it takes more time than actually writing it down.
- That Mountain Dew I had last night was probably a bad idea. ::slaps hand::
- And finally, I’ve decided I’m going to get a copy of Lisa’s Baby Can’t Sleep book. Which I’ve been a horrible friend and have not read yet (sorry Lisa, will you forgive me?). But it looks like it has fun counting sheep in it and the insomniac sites say that it’s good to have imagery you keep in your head every night that’s the same, so that eventually when you get to a certain image or thought you naturally fall asleep (although, I must not be doing that right, because this has never worked for me). But if I do finally figure it out, funny sheep sound much more fun to think about then boring old numbered sheep.
I’m not sure what it says that I’m making this list at 5:30 in the morning, since I can’t sleep. But my new goal this week is to try the above tips and see if they work. And if you have any other, please leave them for all of us in this situation.
--Emily, Miss Querylicious
Fast Draft January Word Count (which you think would be much higher this week due to the above mentioned problem, but sadly is not)
15640 / 50000 words. 31% done!