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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » writing and insomnia

   
Author Topic: writing and insomnia
ducky
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Is insomnia a normal part of being a writer?

Why is it that after sitting on the verge of sleep. Nodding so badly that I decided to go to bed before giving myself a whip-lash. The lights go off, I lay me down, My character pops up and DEMANDS tht I hear his story. I tell him, "Go away, I'll talk to you in the morning!" But will he go? NO, NO, NO!!!!

Someday i'm going to get wise, stop arguing with him and just take his dictation. BUT WHY CAN'T HE LET ME SLEEP! he's not even the main character. I've been trying to ignore him but now he follows me around work chanting, "Write it, write it, write it...."

"I don't have time!" I tell him, " I have to work!"

"You should have written it when I told you."

"But I need to sleep so I can do my job and pay my bills."

"But you didn't sleep did you?"

"No, and that's your fault so leave me alone!"

I wish I could take sleeping pills!!!!


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Survivor
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Umm.. it's sort of part of any involved relationship.
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ducky
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So you don't think after reading that post that I've lost my mind do you?
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W.P. Morgenstien
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Yes, I do think you've lost your marbles. But that conclusion was made long before you started work on the story!!!

(evens for the control-freak remark!)


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Einer
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If that's losing one's mind...gee, I guess that's what society likes to say, but I say it's a good thing! My characters always bug me at the oddest times (like in an Calculus test!) and they don't back down until I do something about it.

Really, it's not that bad, the insomnia, just as long as you keep your eyes closed. Please do that, let your character speak some, and listen...but let the writing wait. Everyone needs sleep ya know.


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ducky
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I am sleeping better right now. Every thing they have given me so for is now in writing. Well almost. They've given me some clues about the future that are still just mulling around my head.

Sometimes I worry that these characters are too real to me. I feel like I know Jacob in perticular, though his daughter was supposed to be the main character.

I did think after I read my starting post to this thread that I might be losing it - carring on conversations with him on line.


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Gabriel Arcangelo
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You have to be a bit mad to be a writer. People with the will to manipulate visions of false reality must be somewhat insane.

-The Archangel-


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ducky
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Wow, I cannot believe someone revived this thread! I guess I go through cycles of madness since I started writing. Right now I'm in one because I have more story and no computer so I cannot access the first part. They have started keeping me up, or waking me up, again so it's time to start filling notebooks again.

Welcome aboard! How long have you been hanging out on the river?


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Survivor
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Less than a month, at least as the Archangel. I don't think that I recognize him as anyone else, so he's probably quite new here.
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Marce al'Meara
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Can't resist opening it...

My characters are nice. If I don't attend to them in five minutes while falling asleep or thirty seconds while in class or band, I forget that they exist and they go away and I'm happy again. Until I remember that I forgot, then I get pissed at the frog-faced band director and want to scream at her for making me forget because these are my friends I'm neglecting and I'm not a musician. *pant, pant*

--Marce


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W.P. Morgenstien
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Am I the only one who doesn't get pestered by their characters? Should I be worried by this?

I can't say they never give me fits - mine just do it differently. They seem to take on lives of their own! I have a terrible time containing them within the borders of the story I am writing. They just get these scatterbrained ideas and want to go off on thier own without ever consulting the creator about the whole thing. It's frustrating when they need to go one way to make the story work out right, but insist on going another altogether! I keep having to round them up and set them straight again!

Gee, there's a thought: Wonder if our Creator ever feels this way about us?


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ducky
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I'm sure He does!

You know every time I start talking to someone about my story or about a character I learn something new. I don't think this story is ever going to be finished! Every time I try to write something I get lost in getting further aquainted.


I wish I could read the latest on your story! I miss the sharing of ideas that we enjoyed.


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jackonus
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So, what's stopping you two from swapping via e-mail?

Just a thought.


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ducky
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I have no computer. I have to go to the library and time on is very limited. Also, printing costs quite a bit when your talking that many pages.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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I understand most libraries frown on patrons uploading things into their computers.

Makes it hard for people in ducky's situation to send stories to someone via email.

Ducky, you might want to take a look at http://www.sff.net/people/Dalton-Woodbury/sffw.htp

I also run a by-snail-mail writing workshop that you could participate in.


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jackonus
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Sorry Ducky! I guess I didn't read your post carefully enough.

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Survivor
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No, I think she mentioned her computerlessness in another thead altogether. And since she used to have access to another computer, there was really no 'library limitation' until recently (or relatively recently).

I have to admit, my problem as a writer is that all my characters are very boring and staid, not that they have lives of their own. It's because I'm essentially passive in character, I suppose. I wouldn't call myself a Stoic, exactly, but unyeilding adherence to virtue in the face of adversity is certainly something that I have trouble regarding as unessential to a sympathetic character.


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Jeannette Hill
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Ducky, I have found that keeping a notebook next to my bed is a big help. That way, I can give in to the ideas that come to me in half-sleep without forgetting them.
As far as the character not being your main one, maybe you need to re-examine the focus of your story. Look at it from *this* character's POV, and you may see things you never thought of before, and that's why he's bugging you.


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Thought
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Ah yes... Daniel, Crystal... I can't count how many times they have bothered me. Though usually it happens when I don't pay them enough attention. If you've checked out my post in the story section you might find that i've written around 70 pages (more or less depending on the font, which I just recently realized when I began to post it) but what I didn't mention is that it has taken me around 8 years, thats right, 8 long years, just to get it to the point it is now. I still have the origonal hand written beginings which I refer back to every now and then. But needless to say it is hard to write about ANYONE for 8 years and not get to feel like they are old friends. I find it distrubing, though actually I never have them bug me directly. To my memory I've never held a debate with Daniel of The One... though I've often thought of them in terms of problems that have arisen in the story.

But I'm just rambling and... just a second, they're fighting... I better go and strighten things out ... say, does anyone know where I can find the code for all those happy faces?


Just a


Thought


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Jeanette's suggestion to keep a notebook by the bed is a very good one.

Just be sure that when you write in it, you are coherent.

I have notes to myself in my bedside notebook that I'm still trying to figure out....


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Goober
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There is an episode of Sienfiel where he has this great idea for a joke and wakes up and jots it down. Then, in the morning he has no idea what it said. They go about the episode trying to decipher the message. That was a good one.

I do most of my writing (per se) really late at night when I dont feel like sleeping. I guess because thats when half yer brain is asleep and yer mind wanders around or something. For me at least. It helps me get stuff out of my head.


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Survivor
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Click here to learn all about making smilies, links, and all that appear in your messages.

Also, you can get to that page by looking for the place where it says

profile | register | preferences | faq | search

at the top of most pages in the forum. Click on "faq" to get there.

[This message has been edited by Survivor (edited May 22, 2000).]


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W.P. Morgenstien
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Just to let everyone in on the inside scoop, Ducky is my sister! The computer she used to use is the one I'm typing on now. But she just had to go move back to Oregon!

Please, no one encourage her to buy a notebook! I packed up some of her things when she moved and we probably found more than a dozen!! What you need, Ducky, is a planner!! Something that pages can be added to or taken out of!

Miss ya, Ducks!


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jackonus
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That's nice.

I like keeping my old notebooks. I don't miss them now that I can write on computer, but it sure is fun to look at them. I recently started keeping a journal and that really requires paper and pen, I think. Doing it on a palm pilot or similar might work, but for sheer speed an non-interference with "the process" you can't beat paper and pen.


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ducky
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Notebooks are great! I dreamed I was telling a story to a little girl. I thought,"Whoa, good idea!" I jumped out of bed and wrote a children's story that really is pretty good.
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Albatross
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I find the only time I can really write is at night after my family goes to bed (I'm a stay-at-home mom with many household responsibilities). There are many problems with this. First of all, I am starting to feel crazier than I did when my child was a newborn. Second, I don't know where to sleep - my husband resents waking up when I finally come into the room and my daughter's bed is not as comfortable as his. I wish I had my own room!! Third, I think about story ideas all day long and have restless dreams at night. What is happening to me?

Of course, I am actually able to write something each night I stay up to do so. I get a little bit added to my story each session. It is exciting and fulfilling to get words typed on the 'puter. I feel like my head is brimming with ideas and then I can finally dump some out at the end of the day. I love this work! I just wish I could do it and manage to get a little more sleep!

Anybody with good ideas on how to get a little writing time without being interrupted by a toddler (Mommy, I'm hungry. Oh, no - what happened Mommy? I go potty. I got a owie. Mommy, read me a book. Mamma, don't play on the puter!)or a husband who says, "Honey, where's ...."?


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Survivor
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Use a tape recorder to take notes when you're singing the kid down for a nap.

Actually, there are also a lot of useful drawing and storytelling skills that you can integrate into child care. Kids old enough to talk love stories, and they love drawing. The stories you tell may lack polish, and the drawings may be only sketches, but it's a good way to pass the time.


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srhowen
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I was reading through this thread and it rmeinded me of something that someone had sent me once. I went and found it and thought I would share.

As a wise man once said to me:

"You spend your time in imaginary worlds telling stories about people who don't really exist doing impossible things. Of COURSE you're crazy!"

Hmmmm food for thought.

Ok I suffer from the characters whispering in my ear syndrom as well. Does anyone else have this problem though. A scene will play itself out in my head and if I do not go and write it as it is happening, say I put it off until the next day, does your scene lose something? Is it less effective or not as "good" as it was before when you thought it out? Verses writng it as it keeps you awake. If I do that the scene is great.

Shawn


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Survivor
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Hmmmm...it might be the workings of the Muses....

I never find that to be true. I find that if I have an idea to write about, it's mainly a matter of applying technical standards (so exacting that they are specific to myself, so far as I know) untill the piece seems good in my sight.

In other words, I write by editing. So no matter what the form of the first draft, the final has a certain...unique signature, that I put there. And I do my best editing when I'm fully awake.


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Lilamrta
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I write at night anyway, so I don't get bothered by things as much. When something like that does happen, it's usually a really good name for yet another character, or a little plot detail, or a question that needs answering. Right now I'm completely redoing the whole structure of my book(s?) and so I've been lying awake for at least an hour every night (or early morning..one o clock am..) thinking. I also read somewhere that some author said that you never need to rewrite something you got up in the middle of the night to write. It's never happened to me yet, so I can't say this is true, but..
--Lila

[This message has been edited by Lilamrta (edited August 12, 2000).]


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TheUbiquitousMrLovegrove
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The reason scenes feel better inside your head or when you write them down as you are dreaming it up is because your mind is active and receiving a burst of postive creative energy. Chemicals are going off, and you think, "Ah, this is great." That doesn't mean what you are writing is good, or better than what you would have written if you've had time to think it over some more.
What you write in those exciting, feel good moments won't necessary reflect how great it feels to you.

The reason you feel you've lost something if you write the scene four or five days after you first thought about it is because that something probably wasn't there to begin with.

I've been doing quite a lot of study in the real, hard structure of writing prose, and I've come to believe that while writing is creative, the process of creating great writing is as technical and structured as an algebra problem.

I said a few weeks back in a discussion about writing drafts that I didn't write them because I thought the story never changed or got better. I know now why that was true for me then--I didn't know what I should be changing, or looking for. I had what I wrote and I didn' know how to improve it, so my tinkering with it never made it any better. So now I'm of the thinking that good strong writing often comes from editting and looking at your work a second or even third time.

It's a balance between spontaneity and structure.


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Survivor
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Yes, just like it takes hours in practice to be able to sing perfectly when you are onstage, and it takes polishing and setting to bring out the natural beauty of a gem, so it takes technical efforts and skills to bring out the inspiration of a passage.
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