Thursday, November 1, 2012

When Insomnia Is a Good Thing

In his short story, A Clean Well Lighted Place, Ernest Hemingway wrote:

"Finally, with daylight, he would go to sleep. After all, he said to himself, it is probably insomnia. Many must have it."

And most of us do. At one time or another.

You may not believe me, but Insomnia is my friend. I'm not talking about the kind of sleeplessness that occurs after a long, stressful day when the body is exhausted yet cannot achieve any sort of rest. No, that Insomnia hinders. It is my Friend's evil cousin.

The one that I value is the kind that comes after a few hours of sleep, when fatigue is lulled into complacency for a time and imagination takes over, waking a writer with sudden inspiration. I love having a pen and a stack of note cards waiting on my night stand for just that moment. Then those blue and white stripey squares save my bacon as I jot down new story ideas or bits of dialogue.

There is also the joy of schlepping into my office in a nightgown and slippers because my head is filled with intriguing words and make believe people. It's always casual Friday in those early hours and the world feels peaceful, unencumbered. Daily cares are hours away yet, and I allow myself the luxury of quiet thinking.

Night time can be magic for writers. Is Insomnia like that for you?


  1. Waking up in the early hours of the morning with a story idea burning in my head is the best feeling! Love it.


  2. Unfortunately I suffer the opposite. A sort of narcolepsy! LOL! What annoys me is that I'd dream of something fabulous, wake up and then immediately struggle to remember the details, just the feeling! Take care

  3. I don't believe in time, so I usually find myself writing at all hours of the night. I figure I was given a two hundred year lifespan, and I'm planning to sleep the second hundred.

  4. Hello, my friend! A great story and I'm sure you all had a great time on your cross country trip. I've never been to Montana, but it sounds glorious! I'm sure the chaps with the chaps will never forget it, too. Best regards to you. Ruby
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  5. Between first sleep and second sleep is a known time of tremendous creative energy. I don't call it insomnia but a gift.