In Praise of Insomnia

Recently, my mother informed me that I was only a genius between the hours of midnight to six a.m. It's an unfortunate truth that I seem to write best 1) under a deadline, and 2) in the wee hours of the morning.

The deadline assistance makes logical sense.  As a theatre person, everything's a deadline.  The show will go on, whether you're ready for it or not!  Similarly if you're writing a play, there's a certain date where you simply must have sides for auditions, and a mere 72-hours after that you'd better have a script to give to the actors!

Novels are harder, though, simply because they're enormous in scope and have a tendency to get richer as you write them (at least for me), and so I fully understand why Douglas Adams famously said: "I love deadlines.  I love to wave at them as they pass me by."

But my justifications for why insomnia is a blessing are as follows:

  • In the wee hours of the morning, there's simply nothing else to do but to fill up the time with words.

  • In the wee hours of the morning, every other sane person is aslumber - which means that there is no one awake with whom I can distract myself from the accusatory blank screen.

  • In the wee hours of the morning, there's a sense of impending deadlinery, insofar as the dawn will inevitably come and I'd better get some sleep before it becomes tomorrow...hence I must finish what I am writing today.  ("Today" always being that time before the dawn.  None of this meridian nonsense.)

    Or on a slightly more silly note:

  • Theatre people don't know the meaning of 10 a.m. anyway.

  • My grandmother was an insomniac, so there's simply no hope for it.

  • Clearly, it's not that I'm up too late, it's that night comes too early!

    So I wonder...when do other people find their genius flowing?
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