Have you ever had one of those long, restless nights when a project you’re working on hijacks your mind and your sleep? When your body is tired, but your mental gears are racing, so you can’t really rest?
I just had one of those intensely exciting, but mildly exhausting nights, which is why I’m a bit soggy and groggy this morning. And also late in getting this out. Oh, well—the fortunes of fabricating!
I’m working on a revision of the opening pages of my children’s novel. It’s going well. It’s going not so well. A rollercoaster or emotions and edits. Since I’m in a very receptive and hyper-alert state, my mind is racing to the rescue with ideas I need—and less sleep than I need, too!
What to do, what to do? Just in case you may experiencing this form of creativity, here are a few tips gleaned from my hard-won experience:
When this happens, accept it as a gift from the universe. Sure you’d rather be sleeping, but your mind is racing along a track that might prove fruitful. Be grateful: welcome a wakeful night of wordsmithing.
Keep paper and pen or pencil readily at hand. As your mind goes into overdrive, stacking and restocking words and phrases, it’s a wise writer who’s ready to jot down any gems that may crop up. When morning comes, some of these may prove soggy rather than scintillating, but you never know. Don’t let any potential gold dust scatter—catch it!
Recognize when your mind is repeating itself: After a time of energetic invention, you’re likely to find that your runaway thoughts aren’t really bringing you something new, but is just going over the same ideas again and again. Most of the time it’s pretty clear that your mind is tapped out and you’ve reached the point of diminishing returns.
Ask for rest and be ready to accept it. When I’ve been really hyper-alert, jotting down any ideas or new phrases that have cropped up, I reach a point where my mind is as tapped out as my body. When this happens, I simply ask for help sleeping—and often receive it. I may not get all the rest I need, but I do get some.
Thrilling takeovers are exciting and energizing. Let’s welcome them instead of fighting them and see what night journeys our minds take us on. Do you have any tips for maximizing the benefits of this hyper-alert nighttime state? If so, I’d love to hear them as we all write on!
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