Life of a Writer: Midnight Inspiration

I think a lot of writers suffer from midnight inspiration, for better or worse. I’m almost done with the first act of my new manuscript (about a group of Millennials grappling with life’s choices and social justice issues), and am happy to report I’ve found a way to work with these sometimes unwelcome thoughts.

Typically, when I’m thick into the process of writing fiction, I wake at all hours of the night with an idea that must be written down lest I lose it. It might be a snatch of dialogue, the solution to a plot problem, an idea for an action scene, or some other tidbit that feels profound in the wee hours. I’m similarly afflicted when trying to get to sleep. My mind races, defying my tired body.

Maybe I’ve matured as a writer after five novels, or maybe I’m simply in better control of my thoughts now that I’m not working full-time. But I’m finding that when I wake in the night or can’t get to sleep because of book thoughts, I can turn off that part of my brain, essentially saving the thought for later.

I know that if I let the thought come to fruition, then I will have to write it down. Otherwise, the fully formed idea will disappear with the dawn if not sooner. But if I put the brakes on the thought and block it from developing, it goes back into the recesses of my brain to be revived at a more convenient time. This may not sound like a big deal but it’s exciting for me because it means I’m getting more sleep now!