Three Writerly Ways to Make Insomnia Your Witch
Dusky and elusive, it evades aspiring luminaries like the Black Death. Ironically enough, it is often in these witching hours that the dry-eyed desperation sparks our best creativity.
Insomnia can easily become the bane of adolescent and adult existence, but fret not—for, to us readers and writers, these are the hours that are golden.
Here are simple three ways we can make ample use of our time chasing slumber, from the comfortable confines of our bedrooms.
1. Plot. If you're a "pantser", that's fine. We all do it from time to time. But the solitude of late night can bring about unwanted anxieties, memories, rumination... which is, in our witchy opinion, so unhealthy. Change it up and plan for once; we see you sitting in bed playing round after round of Candy Crush, it's not like you don't have the time. If you find yourself stuck at a crossroads with which way you want to take your WIP (Work-In-Progress), make a game of it. Put yourself in your character's shoes. Or, even better—put yourself in your antagonist's shoes! What mishaps could befall your characters and their little world? What could possibly go wrong? Write a messy outline of your visions. Or, dream it, then write it.
2. Up that word count. If your focus is on fleshing your outline or first draft out, great. This is the perfect time to work on that! Set a timer with a small goal; two-hundred and fifty words in half an hour? Easy. Use it as a free-write—don't worry about what sounds good in the moment. Likelihood is, that sleep-deprived brain of yours will provide all the snark and dramatization your WIP has needed. Write until your eyelids grow too heavy, and voila: you upped your word count, and have some fun self-revision material ready for the morning—or next sleepless night.
3. Read. And no e-books this time. It almost seems too simple, but if the former two suggestions don't work, you may need to do this the old-fashioned way. Too much of that blue light emanating from our cellphones, tablets, and laptops can affect our sleep cycles negatively. Put your phone down and light a candle on your nightstand; these days, reading by candlelight is ancestral magic, and good for the soul.
It can be difficult when sleep just won't come, but making the most productivity of that time is sometimes the best thing we can do to combat it.
And, if not, there are always mini incantations...
Dusk upon this nightly vale
May dreams descend and secrets tell
Eyes grow heavy, willows weep
Evade me not, o blessed sleep.
Happy Writing, and Sweet Dreams.
The Attic Witch