Writing Without Sleep

Sleeping_while_studying_NeuWriteWest

I don’t know about you, but when I don’t get enough sleep, my writing (& thinking) tends to suffer.  I feel as if there is a “blanket” (sorry for the stretched metaphor) between my brain and my fingers.  I can write, but it is much harder to think, to find the perfect word, to extend my vocabulary, or to make connections in a meaningful way.  This was brought home to me this morning as I tried to write a “response” to the reading for my class today.  I did not sleep well last night, so I got up early to finish my reading and to write my response.

I might as well have been a zombie for all the effectiveness that I had.  I finished my “response,” but I do not feel proud of it.  It seems like the connections that I would have made simply would not come. I have a study that I cut from my local newspaper that showed that research has shown that sleep is essential for creative thinking.

But what happens when circumstances do not allow you to get the sleep you need?  Life isn’t always going to cooperate with your need for sleep to enhance your creativity (or to keep you creative if you’re already creative).  I did the only thing that I could, I plowed through the best that I could, but I don’t really feel satisfied with the results.  This is a question that I’m going to have to work through as a writer, how to do my best work when life won’t allow me to be at my best?  I didn’t waste time and I scheduled my time as best I could, but even now, as I write this, I’m wondering (in the back of my mind) is there a better way of expressing this, am I being too pedantic, does this blog entry even make any sense at all?

Unfortunately, I won’t know until after I’ve rested and looked over it.  And what will I find when I do?

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Creativity–Sleep and the Writer

creativity

So, this is only my 2nd blog post of a very long month because I haven’t really been creative.  I’ve been stressed, sleep-deprived, challenged, and many other things during this month that are the stuff of nightmares.  Thanksgiving Break was MUCH needed.

I have a clipping from the Times-Freepress (my local newspaper) that talks about creativity and how important sleep is to the equation.  Supposedly, the periodic table came to its inventor in a dream as to did the riff for the song “I Can’t Get (No) Satisfaction.”  In that article, it talks about how the memories consolidate in the brain and allow the brain to make connections that would otherwise be impossible without (enough) sleep.

This month my sleep patterns have changed.  I find myself going to bed extra early sometimes before 8:30 pm and waking up extra early (often as early as 3:30am -4:00 am).  I’ve found that my creativity (for creative writing) was completely lost during this month.  I tried to work on a short-story, but it has not “slotted in” for me.  I have, however, managed to work on the applications for graduate school, but I haven’t really done much of anything else.

The Star Wars Equation

So, I also haven’t really been watching any movies or anything that I would normally do.  I have a pretty sizable bluray collection and I regularly watch a movie at least once a week, but this month I didn’t really do that.  For the first time this month, I grabbed a movie off the shelf (The Empire Strikes Back) and watched it.

Sleep, plus the movie, really made the difference.  I wrote down an idea for a short-story that’s been in my head for a long while and while it may not be the next thing I write, I do know that I WILL write this story (even for no other reason than to get it out of my head and on to paper).

It is like the dam has been broken and I now the ideas feel like they are able to flow freely.  I think the next thing I will write will be a short story, but I think I need to try and spread my wings and attempt longer works.  I also need to be more conscious about my sleep choices, especially on weekends.  The extra rest that I was able to get really helped me get back my creativity.

I will make sure to watch Return of the Jedi next week and probably the original Star Wars the week after (& of course the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens the following week after that).  If there is anything that can spur creativity for me, it is the Star Wars movies.  After all, I am a “child of Star Wars” (my most favorite trilogy of movies of all time).