Every writer has his or her own comfort zone. Many write while drunk. Some wake up early and write as the sun comes up. Hundreds write a certain number of words each day before stopping. I’ve heard of writers who can’t get anything done without a certain beverage in hand, or a certain outfit on. I am discovering, to my dismay, that I am a night writer.
Being a night writer is fine, but inconvenient. I spend all day trying to write, but the moment I shut the light off, words start connecting and ideas start flowing. This would be lovely, if not for these six struggles.
- Lack of Sleep: Even when I’m exhausted, my brain won’t shut up. There’s something about the quiet, the dimness, and my husband’s gentle breathing that makes my words go into overdrive. It’s both exciting and vexing. But, as the saying goes, “I don’t have a sleeping disorder. I have a good idea and inadequate respect for tomorrow.”
- Daytime Productivity: Writing during the day, for me, is challenging at best and agonizing at worst. I try to write first thing in the morning, before I’ve read anything. This often leads to hours of staring at a blank page, battling with writer’s constipation. The words are there, but they won’t come out.
- Ideas: I’ve been known to keep a notebook on my nightstand for the ideas that keep me awake. Unfortunately, writing in the dark (in order to let my husband sleep) is difficult, and I don’t always understand my notes come morning. What I really need is a pen with glow-in-the-dark ink.
- Dreams: Try as I might, I rarely get to take note of every idea that flies through my head as I attempt to sleep. When left to their own devices, my ideas manifest themselves in vivid (if bizarre) dreams which I inevitably can’t remember properly. For example, this morning I woke up from a dream involving a sabotaged airplane, a young woman whose blood was being poisoned, dinosaurs, and a lot of guns. Starring Harrison Ford/Indiana Jones (or possibly Nathan Fillion; it’s difficult to say), of all people.
- Schedules: My husband is a morning person. I am, obviously, a night person. This makes weekends… interesting.
- Involuntary Naps:The combination of taking two hours to fall asleep, only to be launched on exhausting adventures when I finally do, results in a Leah who requires some more proper rest. I find my eyes drooping while reading, writing, eating, and even when trying to wake up. I try not to give in to the impulse, but sometimes it just can’t be fought.
When are you most productive? Does it interfere with your sleep habits, like mine?