Monday, August 23, 2010

In Which I Come Out In Favor Of Sleep

Okay, here's my deal: I write at night.

This is not always true, but generally speaking, when I do my writing, it's at night before I go to bed. This could have some detrimental effects on my writing. Probably, when I do my edits, I will find, at random points, comments like "I wish I had a Diet Coke" interspersed in the text, instead of, you know, what I actually meant. It's certainly detrimental for my health, because writing at night seems to give me that "I wish I had a Diet Coke" urge, and, according to my dentist, that's an urge I should be suppressing at all cost.

I fully recognize that my writing at night is quite likely at fault for what I'm about to say, but I'll say it anyway, because, I guess, there's a good chance it's true for other people. (Or, maybe I just think I'm the center of the universe. That's also the option. But I'll pretend I'm more modest than that, because, well, one does try.)

Once I finish my writing for the day, I do some reading, and then I embark on one of my favorite activities: sleep.

But, as I'm laying down to sleep, some cruel creature in my unconscious (who is, as yet, unnamed. Which is a shame, because creatures like this should have names. Super Subconscious Man? Meh. I'll work on it...), some cruel creature in my unconscious -- name TBD -- appears and says in a maliciously whiny voice, "Hello, can we discuss that outrageous plot hole you have forming about fifteen feet in front of you?" And if I try to tell it to shove off, it says something along the lines of, "Fine, I'll just go sit over here and watch you fall into it tomorrow. I'll laugh. It'll be a treat. I hope there are alligators in the bottom to eat you."

Yeah, my subconscious is a peach.

This is, as it turns out, though, somewhat useful. It means that while I'm lying awake at night, trying to fall asleep -- and I have spent a lot of my life trying to fall asleep -- I can also get some work done. Thinking, planning, and other things I like to pretend I'm above doing. (Thinking, as it would turn out, is necessary. None of us is immune.) (Wouldn't it be great, though, if you didn't have to think and plan? Just sit down and scrawl out a perfect MS. But, as it turns out, I don't have those mad skills. If you do, drop me a line and let me know. I'm more than happy to admit I'm crazy jealous.)

I don't think I'm the only one this happens to. I've been told the unconscious mind is wicked powerful, that it'll come up with things while you're daydreaming, real dreaming, or just bumming around that have your conscious mind totally stumped. Even if it's cruel in the way it does it, you have to admire some of the results.

That's why I'm in favor of sleep. It's rests your body, improves your immune system, and makes your writing that much better. Plus it's unbelievably nice. What's not to love?

What has sleep done for you lately? When/where do you do most of your writing/thinking/maniacal scheming?


  1. I think about my manuscript just about every night before I fall asleep, but I usually don't come up with anything worth remembering. It's just a way to drift off with a smile on my face. :)

  2. I am completely convinced my novels are completely written in my sleep - all those awesome twists and turns. I definitely didn't come up with all of that while I was conscious. This all sounds way too familiar...I need a name for that subconscious man, too!

  3. DL -- You're right, it is a nice way to fall asleep with a smile. :)

    Tiana -- Good to know I'm not alone.

    Michelle -- Writing a book in one's sleep would be pretty awesome. "Oh, look, a complete MS on my desk. That's cool. Did elves write it?" I'd enjoy that.