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Friday, April 03, 2009

A Writer's Battle

I have learned that writing is not a good hobby, and certainly not a good profession, for someone who enjoys sleep. Consider my dilemma: my two favorite activities are writing and sleeping.

Often at night, just as my body is about to release itself to the desire of sweet slumber, the perfect idea grabs hold of me. It taunts me, marches around in my head, and relentlessly vies for my undivided attention. I toss and turn for seconds, minutes, or, depending on how desperate I am to cling to sleep, hours. Sometimes I negotiate, “I promise I’ll remember you in the morning, just let me sleep.” The idea replies, “But if you forget, these brilliant words will be lost forever.” Another plea I offer: “There’s a piece of scrap paper on the nightstand, just let me jot you down. I’ll plug you in tomorrow.” Idea replies, “Are you kidding? You can’t possibly think I’m going to let you sleep, until you see how I look in that paragraph you’ve been working on.”

Certain I will eventually fall asleep if I just remain steadfast, I reposition myself, I flip pillows, I count sheep – anything to get some time with my precious sleep. The idea always wins, and as I enviously leave sleep behind, I get up and seek out my computer. You may be thinking that if idea always wins, why doesn’t she just get up to begin with and eliminate the battle: if you wonder this, you cannot truly understand the love of sleep.

The idea that wrestles me out of bed is usually just a line or two, sometimes even just a word that will enhance something I’ve already written. Strangely, it takes me an hour or a few before I make it back to bed, but many times a full piece has been written or completed from that single persistent idea. I grow weary, at times, worrying that writing is bullying my relationship with sleep: and I fear that I may have to give it up. But then I wonder, can one really survive without sleep?

2 comments :

  1. Melissa said...

    Ah, sleep...the best hobby EVER!

  2. sweetthang said...

    I love how words sometimes bounce around until a paragraph or a whole story is formed. If you wait till morning, you can still write it, and you'll think it's good enough. But if you write it at night, while it's alive, you'll be surprised in the morning at how good it is and you'll know what it would have lacked if you had waited.