Running on Empty: Daily Writing Challenge

Perhaps it would be better to ask, how much sleep do you, as a writer actually get?  Do your characters nudge you out of a sound sleep at two in the morning, or are you still plunking away at the keyboard when dawn breaks?  Do you find yourself lying awake wondering how to turn the story around?  Do obvious logical errors in the plot nag at you in bed? 

And, if you are a blogger—and these days, chances are good on that account—are you finding yourself losing sleep over keeping up your blogging schedule?

I’ve heard it said that “writers are people, too”, and I suppose that’s so.   The thing is, I know writers of different ages, skills and temperaments, and one thing that seems to be true is that writers aren’t like other people.  Think I’m making that up?  Look around.  If you are reading this site you read other writing sites.  You read books about writing, you know and talk to other writers, and, in the company of writers you might find you fit in pretty well.  But if you are only in the company of writers you may have missed out on the fact that non-writers are not driven the same ways you are.

There.  I’ve said it. 

How much sleep does a writer actually need?  A study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society suggests that older people actually need less sleep each night to support their health.  “But wait”, you say, “I’m not old!”  (Give it time and luck.  You will be.)  But that’s not the point.

What I wonder is this:  Do writers have different needs when it comes to sleep?  Do their minds actually work differently?  Does a brain that constantly looks for new things to say, and new ways of saying them need more (or less) sleep?

I used to hate the idea of naps, for instance.  If I laid down in the middle of the day, if I fell asleep during daylight hours, I would wake up with a headache so bad I couldn’t think.  These days, however, as I’m up late and usually out of bed by 5 or 5:30, there are days when I”m exhausted by 9 in the morning.  Oh, yes.  I’ve taken a nap at 9, and felt better the rest of the day.

What about you? 

What about those of you who have jobs, kids, an active social life…  Do you need more or less sleep than non-writers, spouses, friends or acquaintances?  Are you getting that sleep?

Sorry.  Did I wake you?

Today’s challenge is to take a look at your health and sleep requirements… and at those of the people around you. 

Your thoughts.

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3 responses to “Running on Empty: Daily Writing Challenge

  1. BTDT (Been there, done that) Or wake up in the middle of the night with the answer to a computer problem back in the days when I had a real job.
    These days I can’t seem to stay asleep for more than about 4 hours any more, myself. Sometimes I can go back to sleep for a while after an hour or two awake. Sometimes crash in the late afternoon. Don’t know what that’s all about. Stress probably.
    Anyway. Happy napping.

  2. I do all the things you mention in your post. Today I have been editing someone else’s book and now (4.45pm) I am fit to collapse, but I know I will get up to check something at least once during the night.

  3. I hate to raise the subject. It may not be consolation. But me? 68 and the half way mark on Thursday, and even over the last year I have noticed the age factor. The diabetes and the COPD (recent diagnosis) are also contributing to my awareness that I have to consider priorities and realistic expectations of just what I can accomplish each day. But, although there are health concerns, I still consider myself fortunate, and am rather contented with the aging prospects, and feel that I will accomplish what I will be able to accomplish, and I’ll leave all the rest, but hopefully, against Joan Baez ‘s song, I’ll also take the very best and actually finish what I’ve set myself to do. Naps therefore have become regular parts of my day.

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