Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sleepy Writing

A peculiar thing happens when I sit down to write sometimes. It's almost exclusive to when I write something related to my manuscript. I'll read through the section I've written most recently to get back into that place of the story, and after about 20 minutes my head begins drooping downward, threatening to hit the computer on its way to Nap Time. This happens regardless of whether or not I'm fully rested.

It's a phenomenon that puzzles me to no end, and truthfully it's quite inconvenient. This semester I have to work hard to even find the time to write my own stuff, and a half-hour snooze is not part of the schedule. What is the source of this acute fatigue? Does it happen because I feel overwhelmed to write a 200-pg story about my life that no one will likely care about anyway? Is it some sort of narcolepsy spurred by stress? Is it caused by the emotional investment it takes to find the truth of a story and write it in an original way? Or, worst yet, do I bore myself?

I asked my roommate and fellow CNF student Adri (you may know her from whether she's experienced this. Sure, she said. Sometimes she'll nap when writing, and those naps are actually productive because they're full of dreams about her story. Hmmm. I think I usually dream too, though I haven't later noticed what the dreams were about or whether they influenced my writing. But at least someone else could relate, which partially alleviated the fear that I've just picked up another freakish habit.

A few months ago, I was even more relieved when reading an interview with JeAnne Marie Laskas (a prolific writer who is also one of my favorite professors) on, in which the interviewer asked how she knows where to begin writing after spending weeks gathering information for her immersion journalism pieces. JML replied something like, "That's when I take lots of naps." Ahhh. An award-winning, experienced writer confesses to this sleepy-writer syndrome--maybe it's actually a good thing!

With confirmation from other writers, I'm starting to think it truly has something to do with that spiritual place one goes when creating art. Perhaps it's the brain's transition from left-brain thinking to right-brain thinking. I like this option best.


wren said...

I end up taking a lot of naps too! In fact, my best writing (I think) comes when I'm on vacation and can take all the naps I want. Then it's like I want to write, even though I don't have to because I'm on vacation. Go figure.

Liberty said...

Wren! I can't get to your blog from here--why not?