Friday, July 2, 2010


Okay, summer is officially here. Like, in the 90s (30s if you're not American) here. No air conditioning, just open windows and fans to keep the air moving.  Not ideal weather for sleeping.

I've become a major insomniac of late. Partly due to the heat, partly due to the fact that I'm a light sleeper (as soon as one of the kids coughs or says something in his sleep, I'm awake), and partly due to the fact that the sun officially clears the horizon at 4:45, but dawn begins around 3. Birds don't have clocks. They don't care that it is FAR TOO EARLY to be singing (or that nesting is over and done with, therefore they have no reason to sing). There is a hint of light, so they sing. Right outside our bedroom window. Close the window... stifling air... insomnia.

My problem is that my head is full of ideas. This sounds like it should be a good thing, but all it takes is a little cough to wake me, and then CLICK the gears start to turn. It's as though my muse perches on the pillow next to my head, waiting for me to come to the surface long enough to dive in through my ear and get to work. Suddenly, my head is full of story ideas, characters (had a little girl with glasses pop up the other night), plot lines, and even what to write about in the blog.

I get up and write things down, but it doesn't help. My brain just won't shut down. Even though it means I can't write as well the next day (when it's even hotter and all I want to do is take a nap), my muse brain refuses to listen to reason.

So I comfort myself by making use of the time by playing "what if". I think up all of the crazy directions a story could go, and (for the most part) clear out the ones that just won't work. Sadly (sad because I like to sleep), I'm usually awake long enough to get to my 20th idea (thanks to Maureen Crisp for the link).

My goal is to put all of those wonderful nocturnal ideas to good use over the rest of the summer, before classes (i.e. teaching duties) resume in the fall. If only I could write as quickly as the ideas come. We shall see what comes of it.

What about you? What do you do when you can't sleep?


  1. Alison, this happens to me often, and I think it's mostly birds that wake me up. Since once I've awakened, I have trouble going back to sleep, I usually get up and read or work on my novel.

  2. Good for you, Andrea. I should probably just suck it up and start working, too. But I like sleep far too much to willingly give it up. Plus I need to have a sleep/wake schedule that is at least somewhat in sync with my kids. So I try to sleep. But maybe if I take a nap now, I can get up with the birds tomorrow. :D