I tried fighting my sleep schedule before. It became the cycle of a new born baby. I’d go to sleep around 5am and sleep until the afternoon. I finally made up my mind to go with the flow of my brain.
I decided writing late night and early morning would be the equivalent to working 3rd shift. So, there, that was that. My resolve wasn’t resolved as I began finding myself sleepy at 11pm, in bed by midnight, sleep by 1am, and waking up around 8am. Damn it. Okay, so let’s try that. It worked for a while. I even planned out a writing schedule to accommodate my new ‘normal’ sleeping pattern.
I still slept some days until around noon, so I began my writing, researching, editing, revising schedule around 3pm and went on until around 10pm. I got used to that schedule and even looked forward to it … until one fateful night.
I was in bed by 12:30am, I pulled out my Kindle to read a bit before going to sleep. Before I finished the introduction, and I can’t even tell you what it was that inspired me; I was thinking of a story. The book I had attempted to read was an anthology of short stories. The introduction was such that the stories were tidbits of his earlier work, new work, work he knew would never make it into a novel. He realized that reader’s time was shortening and short stories and flash fiction were a hot commodity. That was all my brain needed. An idea lodged in my gray matter and I tried to convince myself that it would stick until I woke up the next morning. After all, I had a sleep and writing schedule to keep.
Well, the thought refused to release me into sleep-dom. Laziness, and the thought that it’d be short and sweet, prompted me to grab my mobile phone and begin typing the story into an email to myself so that I could retrieve it on my laptop later in the day and save it into a file. Once in the file, I’d take some time when I woke up to revise it, slice it up, carve bits off – you know – the regular editing and revision process. The email I typed to myself took about 90 minutes. Good. It was a complete story, needing revision, of course, but it was done. Yay me.
I could now sleep. No. My brain was on fire. I wrote a piece before that I shared in a writers group and they said it sounded like a piece from my writer’s journal. I didn’t even have a writer’s journal. As I lay in bed, wanting to sleep, wanting to not think about revisions to the story I’d just emailed myself; I realized sleep was far from me and I indeed did have a writer’s journal within me.
So, there it was 2:59am and I transitioned into my home office to type this on my laptop. So much for my sleeping and writing schedule. As soon as I think I have it figured out and have the nerve to get excited about it … it changes … again.
Whatever your brain’s pattern is for writing, just go with it. You can’t change it. Or maybe you can.
What have your experiences been with trying to adhere to a writing schedule? I look forward to reading your thoughts.
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(This article was cross-posted from deborahldixon.com)