Nightime Writing Won’t Let Me Sleep

As you may have noticed by the lack of movement on my NaNoWriMo counter, I given up on that story. Well, I really haven’t given up on it, more like I have just put it aside for a while. I am still writing at night before bed, though. My current project is a Christmas themed short story that I hope to have finished in a week or so. However, I do have a slight problem. I’m having a hard time getting to sleep.

I know what you are thinking: eveyone has trouble sleeping now and then. Well, this isa new problem for me because ever since my daughter was born I have been able to fall asleep the moment my head hits the pillow, probably from exhaustion. I guess you could call that one of the added benefits of having a baby. Lately, I have been tossing and turning for hours after I go to bed. I finish up writing, put my head on my pillow, and then lay there thinking about my short story and what mull over ideas to improve the story. Or, I lie there excited about how great my story is going to be (I guess I’m an optimist at night). It was so bad last night that I was disturbing my wife to the point that she kept talking in her sleep about changing the sheets, seemingly because the ones we have now are too noisy.

Has anyone else who does their writing before going to sleep experienced this phenomena? The worse part about it is I have no other time I can really dedicate to my writing. I pretty much have to wait until the baby falls asleep, which also happens to be right before I go to sleep.

10 thoughts on “Nightime Writing Won’t Let Me Sleep

  1. I tend to wake up with words in my head — once you get started, sometimes it’s hard to stop. I think this keeps me from writing sometimes because I feel like I will be overwhelmed, like a tsunami of words flooding over me and carrying me away.

    Do you keep a notebook handy? I do that — literally a pen and paper on the edge of my bed so I can jot something down and then go back to sleep. It takes away that edge of worry that you “might forget” the inspiration.

  2. I attribute not being able to sleep with not writing enough. Thoughts of novel ideas, general story ideas and whatnot are trudging around in my cortex, usually after I have neglected my normal writing times. This is just from what I have observed. If I write a ton that week, I sleep like a baby. Although, I cannot give you advice on balancing a family and writing as I have none, all I can say is, don’t waste the time tossing and turning, get up and put in an hour or two into your writing. This will make you tired enough to go to sleep, and/or you will have had a productive night.

    Writing anxiety is common and sleepless nights are the norm, especially if you have found someone to publish your book. If you are worried about being published or just getting your story done – the best advice I have received recently is, don’t rush, finish it on your time, not theirs. You are the one that has to live with it.

  3. Have you tried reading before you hit the sheets? If I write before I go to bed I have the same problem, but if I read for ten minutes or so it seems to calm the grey matter down enough to drop off.

  4. I think writing is too stimulating. How about writing-then-reading? Half and half. Reading always calms me and then puts me to sleep. Unless it’s my own writing that I’m reading. DON’T do that.

  5. That used to happen to me too, Paul. You need to create some “winding down” time. I found that if I sat in bed with a book, that would push the “writing” thoughts away. I never had to read a lot to get that sleepy feeling, just a few pages or a chapter at most. Then I’d put the book down, turn out the light and fall into a deep sleep.

    Sounds dreamy just talking about it. 🙂

  6. I don’t know if this is still presenting a problem for you; if it is, perhaps you could try going to bed as soon as your daughter does and getting up 15 to 30 minutes earlier to write instead of staying up later?

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