Writing or Sleep . . .

I was futzing around with an essential, yet anticlimactic, bit in my WIP Sunday night, picking at it like a scab instead of writing past it because I didn’t actually want to write but wouldn’t admit it.  I decided to pack it in about ten-thirty, as I get up at 5:30 on weekdays . . . so I can write before work.

As usually happens when I take my sticky fingers off the controls, a pacing solution sprang to mind, and I scribbled the basics down as fast as I could so I wouldn’t forget it.  It was about eleven when I called it quits—the imagination was willing, but the brain was more than half asleep and the fingers had gone dyslexic.

I snagged the latest Mercedes Lackey on my way to brush my teeth and decided to finish the chapter in bed. And then another one.  Which led into a third and so on.   I turned out the light about half past midnight, knowing I was an idiot and still wanting to finish up.  Please, God, let me write cracktastic fiction someday!

At one o’clock, I was awakened to the dulcet tones of our cat upchucking in the dark.   Usually, this sends a direct signal to my bladder, but all was well.  So I rolled over with the relief of someone who didn’t have to tiptoe through a minefield in the dark.

Ten minutes later, there was a loud thump and wail from our toddler’s room—because in this house, children can’t fall out of bed before the cat throws up.  It just isn’t done.

So I gingerly went down the hall and found our three-year-old swaddled in her sheet and halfway under the bed.  I extracted her, unwound her, and tucked her back in.  She was asleep five seconds later, but I crawled in with her and stayed for a while in case she showed immediate signs of a brain hematoma from bouncing off the storybooks she’d refused to put away before bed. 

I don’t know what use I would have been, since I did a long blink and it was suddenly two-thirty, but parental anxiety knows no logic.

I got up, went to the bathroom on general principles, and climbed into my side of the bed, belatedly grateful I hadn’t encountered the cat’s bout of indigestion.  I moved slightly—and something wet touched my leg.   

Needless to say, I woke my husband, who is my hero for jumping up, turning on the lights, and hand checking the surface of the mattress while I stood there and swayed from brain-fried exhaustion.  Even if it turned out to be a fig ment of my imagination.

So I got about four hours sleep in bits and pieces, which means I was in no condition to write anything coherent Monday morning and was a diet Pepsi-and-chocolate fueled Dead Mommy Walking at my day job—no exaggeration. 

But I survived, dragged myself home, and vowed to go to bed at a decent hour—say, right after the kids dropped off.  But first, I was going to just insert one thing into my chapter, just so I wouldn’t forget. . .

I brushed my teeth at eleven and got to bed . . . sometime after.

Not sure where I’m going with this, probably because it’s about 6am and I’m having trouble finding all the keys through the thick fog and hitting them in the right order.

Wait.  Got it.  Sleep:  very important for a writer.  Especially a writer of a certain age with a family and a cat and a day job.

I keep feeling the press of time, keep trying to get the words down so I can get the novel done so I can send it off so I can get more words down.  But if I don’t take a break when my body is clearly going to take one with or without me, I’ll just be spinning my wheels, right?

  And spending a lot of time revising and editing stuff that seemed brilliant  to my three functioning brain cells.

So tonight,* I vow to brush my teeth early and go to bed.  Without any writing implements or reading materials—mine or someone elses.  It’s not a retreat, it’s a regroup.

Hard to type with all this yawning going on, anyway.


*If I didn’t have a workshop this afternoon, I’d call in dead.  But I do, and I’m not, so I won’t.  Damn sense of responsibility . .  .


2 thoughts on “Writing or Sleep . . .

  1. lol. I can relate, in detail. I think the fog helps… doesn’t it? *thinks nervously of some fairly drastic recent edits to manuscript*

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