On Creativity and Insomnia

So… I don’t think I’ve had a true week of good sleep since my birthday.

(Which, in case you don’t already have it on your calendar, was in the beginning of November.)

There was some Life Stress stuff on the weekend prior to my birthday, followed by me drinking the first cup of coffee I’d consumed in god knows how many years (and eating a pile of candy for the first time since going off sugar) then not sleeping for most of the entire night.

And I kept trying to catch up, to give myself plenty of time for rest and do all of the good sleep-hygiene things that I already know all about, and things kept happening and sleep kept not happening.

Not every day, thank goodness.

But at least once a week.

At this point I’m half-asking myself whether I need to buy a new mattress or an entirely new bed, because I know enough about how CBT works to understand that I’ve started to associate my bed with not sleeping—and because my silly internet foam mattress has started to develop a hip-shaped depression in the center of it anyway, a year or so after the 100-night grace period has worn off.

And then I go sleep on the sofa, which is still as firm as the day I bought it.

(I cannot tell you how much I love my sofa; how the minute I sat down on it at the furniture store I was all this one, no other sofas need apply, and how I’m literally writing this post from the sofa right now.)

But the reason I’m telling you about this now, after roughly two months of watching my Fitbit sleep score drop from the high-80s to the mid-70s, is because not sleeping is starting to make it harder for me to make things.

I’m still getting all of my work done, of course; that’s something I’ve always been able to do. I’ve written articles from planes and buses and emergency rooms and beds and sofas. I was completing freelance work the day after I got hit by a car. I’ve also got enough buffer in my schedule that I can time-shift stuff if I really need to step away from work for a day or two.

But the fiction-writing side of things is getting more difficult.

In part because I’ve been taking the time I’ve set aside for my own work and using it to take naps. (Which I know can mess with your circadian rhythm, I own Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep and refer to it frequently, and I only nap in the early part of the afternoon.)

So my new goal is to get myself rested before this Writer’s Winter Break next week, because I spent most of the Maggie Stiefvater writing seminar I took last year absolutely exhausted (I was in the process of shutting down The Billfold, which was not “conducive to sleep”) and I don’t want to feel like I’m not fully myself while I’m there.

Wish me luck. ❤️

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