Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Writing in my sleep

The other evening, a young man who was visiting my Number Two Son stepped into my home office to tell me how things were going at college. He'd been dabbling in creative writing, he said, and then added that his writing seemed to flow best in the middle of the night. He seemed to think it very strange that he often wakes up in the wee hours feeling a strong compulsion to write something down.

I told him that wasn't at all unusual for a writer. In fact, that has been my own experience.

I don't know much about how my ADD-addled brain functions, but I do know that it works best when I stay up late or get up sometime after "late" has turned into "early." No matter how tired I may be, I can always write. And I don't mean to sound mystical about this, but during those times when my brain has slowed down to the extent that I'm not anywhere near alert enough to carry on a conversation or balance a checkbook or read a newspaper, I can effortlessly tap into the most creative part of my mind. In fact, virtually all of my funniest, most moving, and most creative scenes are originally written in a stream-of-consciousness kind of way when I am half asleep.

The stuff always needs to be edited later. And it gets tweaked a lot. But the bones of the scenes are there. I don't know why it works that way, but I don't want to examine it too closely and lose the magic. So if you ever hear me tell someone that I could write a romance novel in my sleep, don't laugh. It's true.

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7 comments:

Another ADD writer said...

You've burned off the excess energy, and there's not a whole lot else you could be doing at that hour, and no noises, outside views, or other people to distract you.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I can identify with that...that's why I'm still up posting at 3 AM...LOL!

Victoria Alt said...

Many ideas come to me right before I fall asleep - or shortly after. I don't get up to go to the computer but the notepad by my bed sure gets a work out. The trouble is deciphering it in the morning.

Paul said...

Hi Brenda,

Thanks for sharing this :)

Now, I know I am normal, often times my late turns into early. Wake up at two or three in morning, write and then back to rest a little more.

Then when I get up, I edit and tweak it.

Now, I gotta head off to my office at Starbucks :)

Writing for the King,

Paul

Brenda Coulter said...

ADD writer, you may have something there.

Paul, look for me at Starbucks.
;-)

Craig Alan Hart said...

I believe it has to do with right brain, left brain. The right side, which has a tendency to get in the way of creativity, because it's so logical and critical, is exhausted, giving lefty the chance to strut its stuff. Anyway, that's what I read in one of the many writing books I've perused over the years. I may not have it exactly right, but that was the essence, and it made a lot of sense to me.

Brenda Coulter said...

Probably. It's not something I like to think about too hard because whatever's happening, I don't want to mess it up!
;-)