Thursday, 3 February 2011

Writing & Insomnia

Those who know me often ask when I find time to write, as I have a busy day job and am always travelling (around 30 international trips a year). So, here's my secret - insomnia.

For those of you lucky enough never to get it ('Just go to sleep, what's the problem?' I hear you say) this is how it works for me. First, I'm usually tired, make no mistake. But my brain won't switch off, it's too 'wired', and believe me I've tried everything, and sleep-drugs make me grumpy in the morning. So, some time ago, I made a deal with my brain...

First - a bit of psychophysiology - from a writing perspective, your right brain is the creative one, the fun one, and the left brain is the editor - more anal, to be honest. They're joined by a bridge (called the corpus callosum), so they can talk to each other. If I'm working against a deadline (like now, to get the book through its copy-editing phase and onto Amazon), the left brain wakes me up early - yesterday at 4am, to get some work done before my 'day job' starts. Similarly, if I'm working late writing or editing, and my left brain isn't satisfied with the end result, I won't sleep, and may as well stay up and finish it properly.

A few months ago I was on business in Brussels, and went to bed early (10:30), only to wake up at midnight. After an hour trying to get back to sleep, I dragged out my laptop and started typing. My right brain had a feast and I wrote most of the story 'Looking for Hell', at least the bones of it, and by 4am my left brain said 'good enough' and I crashed out like a baby, and actually felt refreshed when the alarm went off at 7am.

Travel is great for insomnia (especially if you season it with a little jet lag), so is great for my writing. Other writers have other tricks, so now you know mine.

Would I trade in my writing for a good night's sleep? Now, there's an interesting question...


  1. Never realised you slept so little (you would be brilliant with small children ;o)!! Very impressed with your website & your publishing. Good luck on the next ones, Rachael

  2. Waaow; il est super le site, j'aime bien ton écriture et l'humour! succès à toi ...... ;-)AM


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