It is very late and I’m sitting on the bed typing away on my Mac because I can’t sleep. I’m sitting cross-legged with the duvet wrapped around my shoulders, like some kind of narcoleptic Batman. I am also wearing a pair of Christmas pyjamas with a giant T-Rex dinosaur wrapped in Christmas tree lights on the front of the T-Shirt.
Why, I hear you ask? He’s a Tree Rex!
Okay, that’s enough setting the scene for now!
Basically, I came to bed early tonight with the idea of catching up on some much-needed sleep. The problem is that, as soon as I turned off the light at 8:42 pm, my mind revved up, buried it’s foot on the throttle and yelled, ‘What do you think you’re doing? We’re just warming up!’ I normally get all stroppy and flounce around in bed, getting more and more wound up at the fact I can’t get over to sleep but, this time, I didn’t. I was cool, calm and collected.
I simply got my laptop and started to write.
This, my dear reader, is the result of my over-heated, over-caffeinated brain and I just thought I would pose the question – does anyone else feel they have their most productive times either at night or really early in the morning?
When I sit at night, hearing nothing but a mixture of my heart beat, my nasally breathing, the click of the keyboard and the snoring of my four-year-old son in the next room I like to think I allow my mind to open up.
At times like this, I feel I am able to listen to the shy, quietest, inner-most voices of characters buried deep within my conscious or unconscious mind. Sometimes these characters are the best craic (fun in Irish slang) and I giggle like a schoolgirl as they give me what I feel at the time is pure literary gold! Other times, I feel like turning to them and giving them both barrel of verbal abuse, yelling, ‘And you woke me up for this?!’
The problem is that I, someone who is a Twilight Writers (#TwiWriter), has no idea what could come out of our sometimes tired, overworked minds. It can be amazing, but it can also be pure trash that should be filed under ‘Bin’.
When writing this, I looked up the internet to see if many other writers, who were actually famous, wrote at night. It seems that I, and any other #TwiWriters out there could be in some good, and pretty lofty, company:
* Robert Frost;
* Sylvia Plath;
* Tennessee Williams;
* TS Elliot;
* James Joyce;
* Franz Kafka;
* And endless others, friends!
The list of Twilight Writers appears to be endless and I, now learning that I am not a unique little snowflake, feel glad to know that what I am doing is seen to be something of an accepted practice in the world of writing. Times may have changed. The topics we write about also may have evolved, from the nineteenth through into the twenty-first century, but are we that different?
Some writers in Victorian England may have been huddling next to a dull light while scrawling onto paper by hand, while we, in the technological age, can call on a plethora of aids to help us regurgitate our ideas from our minds onto the ‘page’ and into the world via email. These tools may differ but we, as writers who sit up to all hours of the night listening for howls of those characters inside our minds, are the same. We call upon the inspiration that naturally comes about when we are sleepy, asleep or simply tired after a hard day’s work and putting the kids to bed!
I know I am a TwiWriter, I know I will be exhausted in the morning, I know I may need to take a little nap tomorrow, but I know I will have something concrete to show for my efforts. If, like me, you roll over to get your phone, open the ‘Notes’ app and start typing ideas before we forget them, accept that this is part of your process! Remember that we are not alone and, somewhere out there in the darkness, another TwiWriter will be dancing their fingers across a keyboard just like you.
Author of Inside Iris
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