You know, I was going to start this post off with an image from Google Images via a search of the term ‘sleep deprivation.’ And you know what?
They’re all negative!
Now, I completely understand why the majority of people feel that way. Consistently not getting enough sleep is eventually going to screw you up. But I think a lot of writers don’t quite see it as being super negative. Not all writers, of course. Some of you weirdos (lol) are early risers. Get your best words in while the sun is still coming up.
That is not me, though. Me? I do my best writing when it’s way past my bedtime. And yes, unfortunately my day job means I need a bedtime. Sigh.
When I was on vacation for Christmas (oh, how I miss those days already), I saw no point in heading to bed with Brad most nights. I didn’t have to be up early like he did. I could sleep in as late as I wanted! In turn, I was up until usually 3am, Food Network in the background (always Chopped or Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives that late at night, I noticed), smashing the words out. And I felt good about them!
Not only in writing, but in reading as well. Any night that I spend reading a new book, by the time it starts getting late and Brad is heading off to bed, I don’t want to sleep! I’m hooked in! So you know what I usually do, keep reading!
On vacation, I was drinking coffee at like 11pm every night (plus at least two other cups for the day). Brad was usually asleep by then. 😉
I truly don’t rely on caffeine to stay awake. I cut it out for a couple weeks a few months ago, and never dealt with being tired all the time or anything of that nature. I think the sensation of drinking the warm stuff just gets the muse going, and the words start flowing, and then BAM. You look down at the clock and realize that the sun will be rising in a mere 3 hours. Oops.
I found this hilarious blog post about “The advantages of sleep deprivation (for writers).” Here’s a quote:
5) Sleep-deprivation induced hallucinations can be creative. WHAT IS THAT WEIRD THING FLOATING IN THE CORNER OVER THERE?! Oh, it’s nothing, just my eyes aren’t working properly… hang on maybe I could write a story about a weird thing floating in a corner…
Really, sleep deprivation doesn’t have to be bad. Maybe don’t do it all the time? Because I remember when I was a teenager staying up super late all the time in the summer, I used to start getting sick because I was barely sleeping. OR my freshman year in college, when I was working 11 hours at the library, PLUS my douchebag manager was scheduling me for 44 HOURS at IHOP in one week. I got sick, called out, and told him to fix my schedule. So yeah – it can be bad.
BUT if every once in a while you find your muse and your bedtime comes and goes, keep writing it! Because when you get up in the morning to continue where you left off, that spark might not be there anymore (it never is for me, sigh). On that same note, if your writing starts turning into mindless drivel, you may want to consider going to bed. Though I’ll admit, it’s super fun to read back the next day. 😉
So go have a cup of coffee or tea, friends. Spark your muse. And if you’re still pounding out some words and realize that it’s 3:30am, well, my vote is that you keep writing! Write until you can’t write no more!
And if you’re reading a good book that you can’t put down, keep reading it!
PS – this is my 50th post! Woo!
As a side note of sorts, the assignment for Blogging 101 today is to identify your audience. Readers and writers alike can all identify with the words I post here every few days. These are problems we all have (particularly the staying up late thing!) whether we’re the writer of the book, or the reader of the book. So if you’re reading books OR writing books, you’re in the right place!
Tell me: Are you an early riser? Or do you work hard to keep your eyes open while the rest of the city sleeps?