Monday, December 7, 2009

Super-Charged at Bedtime

If I'm trying to sleep, the ideas won't stop. If I'm trying to write, there appears a barren nothingness. ~ Carrie Latet

Or maybe

I keep little notepads all over the place to write down ideas as soon as they strike, but the ones that fill up the quickest are always the ones at my nightstand. ~ Emily Logan Decens

Or how about

A notepad by the bedside accounts for half the earnings of my livelihood. If it weren't for bedtime, half my novels would still be stuck at dock. ~ Ever Garrison

Are you noticing a pattern?

Why is it that so many of the best ideas and words and sentences and titles and characters come to us when we’re trying to fall asleep?! Last night I was so tired and desperate for a good night’s rest that I even took a “simply sleep” tablet before bed. I fell asleep fine. The problem occurred after a middle-of-the-night bathroom trip. Back to bed…eyes closed…blankets soft…hubby warm…brain suddenly powered on high! It was like I suddenly had a film clip of possibilities and edits rolling behind my eyes. Ugh!

It’s nice to know that it’s a common ailment among writers, but that doesn’t lessen my frustration. I would prefer to have the film clip rolling as I sit at the computer, perfectly prepared to capture each new idea.

How about you – does your creative brain suddenly become super-charged at bedtime?

If I fall asleep with a pen in my hand, don't remove it - I might be writing in my dreams. ~Danzae Pace


Catherine Denton said...

YES!!! I guess it's because we're finally relaxed and comfortable so our minds can go to work.

After reading all those quotes, I may start going to be earlier just to write! ;)

BK Mattingly said...

OMG! so much!! Some days are worse/better than others but always something pops in my head about writing. Last night, it was something about the Brady Bunch and an analogy with writing that's on my to-do list for my blog this week. :)

jdsanc said...

At bedtime, or in the middle of the night, and there I am convincing myself it isn't such a brilliant idea because I LOVE sleep and do not want to get up and find a pen even if it is the best idea EVER. But I am thinking of getting a small tape recorder that I will probably never use!
PS Thanks so much for the congratulation on my site! Means so much to me!

Roni Loren said...

This is definitely my most creative time. I think it's because we turn off that "trying to hard" part of our brain, which allows the ideas to sneak in. But, yes ,it is annoying when it keeps me up til all hours. That 2am bathroom break is almost always the culprit, lol.

L. T. Host said...

I get a lot of thinking done while driving, but yeah, when I'm trying to fall asleep is a dangerous time. Especially because I will get an idea or thought, and then be like, oh, I'll still remember that in the morning.

Never happens. Gah.

And if I'm knee-deep in a plotting issue, falling asleep is a monumental task.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Catherine - I agree! After finding all those quotes I thought, man, I'd better go to bed with my pen!

Bethany - Brady Bunch and writing queries? Interesting...:)

Judith - I absolutely treasure my sleep time (I think I was a cat in a former life) and I just want to cry when I can't fall asleep! And I'm truly thrilled about your new agent! :)

Roni - I think you're right about the "trying too hard" part.

L.T. - me, too! I feel so warm and comfy in bed, and I'm just sure I'll remember an idea THAT great in the morning. Then morning comes, and I have no idea what was so great! :)

Natalie said...

Yes! It drives me crazy! Sometimes I have to get up and go write just so I don't forget everything.

Jemi Fraser said...

Same thing happens to me - and drives me batty too! Good to know we're not alone :)

Scott Daniel said...

I've got to say I'm more than a litle worried about my lack of ideas. Not in regards to my WIP, just anything beyond that ...

It seems like a lot of writers get new ideas for novels or stories all the time. I haven't for awhile now.

Are these dry spells unusual?

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

happens to me alot!

Tracy Loewer said...

I'm a horrible sleeper as it is, but since I started writing, I've been grateful to at least have useful things to think about. Love those edge-of-consciousness ideas!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Natalie - Thanks for visiting!

Jemi - I think so too- it seems we all have each other at least! :)

Scott - I go through some major dry spells, too. I think it's just as common.

Shelli - Thank you for commenting!

Tracy - Oooo, edge-of-consciousness ideas...I like it! :)

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Shannon, Anastasia Suen wrote a book that describes this in terms of the tortoise and the hare parts of the brain. The tortoise part of our brains is in full gear when we're taking a nap or sleeping or completely disengaged with writing (or so we thought). Realizing this to the full has helped me let my tortoise brain have its due from time to time. Occasionally the hare and tortoise meet up, and when they do, it's golden! (But it's all too rare, as others here have testified...)

Stephanie Thornton said...

I drive my husband nuts turning on the lights to write stuff in my little bedside notepad.

Such is life!

cleemckenzie said...

Yep. I get the pattern. Have you been peeking in on me while I toss and turn or make notes under the sheets so I won't disturb my husband. Ha! He's getting used to my frequent scribbling during the night. I think so anyway.

Kimberly Franklin said...

All the great ideas come when you're lying in bed, just got comfortable, and just about to fall asleep. Boom! That's when they hit you, of course. Coming when you're ready for them is too easy. I think they like to catch you off guard.

Also, I've found I get a lot of good ideas when I'm at work too. Go figure. Lately, I've had to keep up a Word document just to record them all.

It's so very frustrating. But, at least they're coming...I guess. : )

Daisy Whitney said...

I've written completely brilliant screenplays in my dreams for award winning films. Sigh. Wish I could remember them!

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