To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub
~To Be Or Not To Be, Hamlet; Shakespear, 1602
I’ve been finding the past few days I’ve been getting to sleep a lot earlier than I used to. Used to be I’d drag my butt to bed around midnight. The past few nights that’s been around 10:30, which is fine, by that time it’s dark out and I’m tired. I used to get tired and push it back, then finding my second wind and really screwing up my sleep schedule. The worst was when I was much younger and would proudly attempt all nighters, especially when I had to work the next day. I’ve tried that since, finding that I usually give up by the time 3 in the morning rolls around. I’d like to note, I never try this when I have to work the next day.
But I’ve also noticed I feel a lot more refreshed in the morning. An hour or two extra sleep really feels good, and I’m even able to get up at 5:30 in the morning. I normally have my alarm set for that, and will wake up and hit snooze several times before finally getting up because I really need to use the facilities.
It’s also doing something else, and that’s helping me get some work done. By work, I mean writing. There’s other work that I do that I get done, but that’s the everyday mundane work that needs to be done, like dishes, laundry, vacuuming, cleaning windows, dusting and so on. But it’s helping a bit with my writing. I know, this whole thing I’ve discovered is contrary to some of the advice of published authors of the past. An example is several suggest being shit faced drunk. If I ever get that way, I can’t lift my hand, not even to think about writing. I did it once, mind you. I wrote about 5,000 words in one alcohol induced haze, then crashed into my bed at about 4 in the morning. I awoke the next day to reread what I’d written, and in a hangover fog I thought it might be salvageable. By the time the fog lifted and moved on, I realized there was no salvaging that train wreck of a word jumble. One non coherent sentence flowing into an unrelated non coherent sentence. That’s not to include how many spelling errors there were.
And I will say this now, no, I did not keep that jumbled mass of incoherent rambling. It went to the dust bin rather quickly. I mean dust bin quite literally, because I was typing it out on an old Underwood typewriter. Ah, the good ol’ days.
So three things I can suggest if you sit down to write; get lots of sleep, eat a good meal before (or while) you write, and have a small recording device handy if you come up with an idea but area far away from pen and paper or computer. Record your idea and transcribe later after you’ve had a nap from that plate of fettuccine Alfredo you just finished.