You know you’re a writer when you wake up in the middle of the night with a the perfect idea for your story. It fixes the plot hole in chapter 3, it gives character X the right motivation to get involved with character Y, it’s the hidden gem that expounds the theme, raises the stakes and incites the conflict all in one beautiful swoop. Or maybe it isn’t really the panacea you want it to be, but it’s a damned good idea and you will definitely remember it tomorrow morning.
Hahaha! If only. Nine times out of ten*, you won’t.
The only way to be 100% sure that brilliant, unconscious breakthrough manages to last through your next REM cycle is to jot that sucker down. This is how the memo above came to be. (And if you aren’t sure about the 1AM scrawl, yes, it does say “bathroom centipede distraction”)
According to literary legend, Truman Capote could only write lying down, and even Jack Kerouac believed the best time for writing was in the middle of the night. Maybe something about night, sleep and our proximity to unconscious helps break down those creative walls we build with our own self-doubts. Keep paper and pens by your bed when you sleep. You never know when and how they’ll come in handy. Even if you wake up with no recollection of the weird instructions you wrote yourself when sleep-plotting, that idea might still be funny enough to post on your blog. (Centipedes? Really, 1AM me? Well, if you insist…)
* Disclaimer: Welcome to my blog, where the statistics are made up and the math doesn’t matter.
Sound off on your own experiences in the comments! What’s the oddest note you’ve written for a story?