A fellow-writer told me recently about the fantastic writing she composes shortly before falling asleep.
Does that ever happen to me? Of course.
The bed is so comfortable, I’m in that halfway stage between wakefulness and oblivion, and there’s all this stream-of-consciousness writing going on. I see where the work in progress is going, I draft excellent dialog, I think of the best blog post…
And I know I should get up and write it down.
Most of the time I simply roll over and dip into sleep, convinced I’ll remember all that fantastic writing because it’s so…fantastic. How could I forget?
I wake up in the morning completely clueless.
There was one time I forced myself out of bed to write a blog post. Oddly enough, that was the post that resulted in the Freshly Pressed award.
There is something powerful in the ‘crossing places’ to borrow a phrase from author Ellie Griffiths. In her book with that title, she’s referring to the salt marsh, the place between land and sea. This time between wakefulness and sleep is the same. A place of transition. So it’s not surprising that a brain is freer to create. The daily grind is over, the body is relaxed, the breathing is almost to a trance phase, and the environment is soft, dark, and quiet.
Well, except for the dog across my feet, snoring.
But you get what I mean.
So if I know that place is a creative space, and I know that if I get up and write the words down the writing will be good, why don’t I get out of bed?
Well, the obvious reason is sheer laziness. Who wants to crawl out of a comfortable bed into a chilly room? Who wants to disturb that poor old dog?
A bigger reason is that there have been other times when I have jotted down notes on the paper every writer is supposed to keep by their bed for just these moments. And while that one time I got out of bed and the writing worked, there have been many, many times when, in the morning I looked at the jotted notes and was clueless.
Whatever the words from that crossing place meant at the time I was falling into sleep, by the light of day the meaning was gone. Poof. Gibberish. I’m left holding the scrap of paper thinking ‘what the h…?’.
But for my friend who started this thought process, I advised her to get out of bed and write it down. Because you never know. Gibberish for a thousand nights, stellar writing for one night. Isn’t it worth it for that one night?
Does that mean I’m getting out of bed tonight? Afraid not. After all, there’s that dog.
One thought on “To Sleep…Perchance to Write”
The older I get, the harder it is to reach for the paper or start the computer once I’ve gone to bed, no matter how interesting the idea seems. If I could have a guarantee that it would be good, maybe I’d lose the sleep. Mostly, I’d just rather wake up the next morning rested. That happens to me so rarely that when it does, it actually feels like having written something wonderful.
If I was really smart, I’d invent a way to think the thoughts onto paper without having to stir. And then I’d be rich, right? 🙂
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