There was a time in my life when I stayed up all night for no other reason than habit, but that habit has long since faded. Since my lovely daughter arrived I’ve found I have an even larger need for sleep than ever before. All that said, on Saturday night, at midnight, inspiration struck and I simply had to listen.
As far as creativity goes, the day had not gone well. I never got around to any of my writing for the day, until I got to my evening journaling session, at which point I managed a few hundred angst ridden words about the rottenness of writer’s block and some sappy aspirations about a time when I could write professionally. Every bit of it was blahblahblah. I surrendered, lay my head down to sleep but it did not come. Instead, I sat in the dark listening to the rhythm of my wife sleep next to me, accompanied by the high notes of our daughter drifting through the baby monitor on the night stand. At some point, amongst the internal whining about being unable to sleep and the static of every day thoughts, a fully formed story announced its presence. It was not received well. My internal self told it to piss off, that I was trying to sleep. It nudged me again, trickling out a few pieces of clever dialog as it did, hoping that I would be intrigued. My internal self nodded, told it that those were keen, and that I would do my best to remember them come morning. At this point the story slapped my internal self across the cheek and threatened to go elsewhere (after telling me I should go somewhere very unpleasant myself). Grudgingly, my internal self told the rest of me to get off my ass and to procure my laptop and a glass of water. There was work to be done. And so, I spent much of that night (technically morning) toiling away, alone in a dark and silent house. Afraid to make any noise, for fear of waking the child, and unable to waste time with research, or any other nonsense, because I was on battery power only, I was able to get the full first draft done in a single sitting.
At several points my internal self would ask the story to slow down, to hold the thought until morning, but at no point did the story listen. I’m rather glad it didn’t, despite how tired I was all day Sunday.