The Joys and Trials of Being a Writer

What is it about being a writer that gives me the biggest adrenaline rush? 

When I’m on a writing jag (e.g. Sunday night), my adrenaline is pumping harder than when I get through with a good workout. I’m more energized and alive afterwards than before I began. 

Sunday night was a perfect example of this.

Although I’m inherently an early bird, I do most of my best writing at night. How fortunate. This Sunday, after a period of time in which I was nowhere near inspired to write, a lightning bolt hit me (figuratively), and I began writing away for five hours straight. This was after reading two books all day Sunday as part of a day to take it easy.

But did I write anything for my current re-write of my first book? No.

Did I write more in the second book in the series? No.

Did I write anything in any of my current WIPs? No!


My silly brain decided to be inspired with a completely new story idea (for which I’m thankful), but that meant getting down as much of the plot as I could as it ran through my brain. I also wrote the first two chapters (30 pages), all in less than six hours.

Adrenalized? You betcha! 

I’m thrilled that my brain is so easily inspired and loves to begin new projects, but I feel I have a bit of ADD when it concerns my writing. It’s so hard to focus on one WIP when there are so many others screaming to be written and I’m afraid that if I don’t write something for them, I’ll lose what inspiration had come forth.

Any advice to get past this? Please! I obviously need help!

Well, after the writing jag (which produced some mega-awesome stuff, let me tell ya), I couldn’t sleep. I laid awake at 11:30 (pretty late for me), and just couldn’t fall asleep. So, I decided to read a book to help me relax. It’s a book I’ve read 2 or 3 times before, so it wouldn’t keep me awake or pulled in as much as a new book would. I thought I was set!

Um… no.

That book was finished by 3:45 a.m. Monday morning. I just wasn’t tired! Even after I finished the 400 pages of that book, I still couldn’t fall asleep! Me and my durn adrenaline rush kept me up all night.

So, I got about 2.5-3 hours of sleep for my 10+ hour workday on Monday. 

I’m pretty sure I was a walking zombie that day. 

Needless to say, I crashed as soon as I got home Monday night, but was able to write a little more last night and I still will tonight.

Does anybody else have this problem? This is not the first time I’ve “napped” before getting up for work the next day because of a writing marathon the night before. Why, oh why am I an early bird with night owl writing skills??? Explain, please!

For those of you who know me, you’ve already learned I don’t get as much sleep as I’d like to, especially depending on the insanity of my work schedule. So having this ironic writing habit is supremely frustrating. I love sleep. I adore sleep. Why couldn’t I sleep?

Have you ever experienced something like this? Is your best writing time at night, too? 

Happy writing!


“Dark circles under my eyes sink deeper and deeper into my skull, in contrast to my pale skin there is an undeniable resemblance to a fresh corpse.” 
― Dee Remy

“Something amazing happens when the rest of the world is sleeping. I am glued to my chair. I forget that I ever wanted to do anything but write. The crowded city, the crowded apartment, and the crowded calendar suddenly seem spacious. Three or four hours pass in a moment; I have no idea what time it is, because I never check the clock. If I chose to listen, I could hear the swish of taxis bound for downtown bars or the soft saxophone riffs that drift from a neighbor’s window, but nothing gets through. I am suspended in a sensory deprivation tank, and the very lack of sensation is delicious.” 
― Anne FadimanAt Large and at Small: Familiar Essays


35 thoughts on “The Joys and Trials of Being a Writer

  1. I used to be like that – just starting a new project every time I got a new idea, no matter where I was with another project or how many others I already had int he works. To combat that, I finally came up with the idea to keep The Unwholesome Files to catalogue all my ideas, be they partial or be they complete, and then number them and then keep them there until I’m ready to start a new project.

    That way, I get the satisfaction of “starting” somethin’ new without looking like a WIP-jumper and get as much (or as little) of it down before I forget it and lose inspiration for the project.

    Dunno if it’d help in your case, but maybe if you try you’ll see it just may.

  2. This sounds just like me! During the day, when I have papers and essays to write for school, my mind goes blank, but at one in the morning, I’M IN THE ZONE. I’m afraid I can’t offer you any advice about how to turn the inspiration valve on and off when you want to, but I can tell you you’re not the only person who has that problem. 🙂

    And I can also relate to what you mean by adrenaline rush. When I hit on an idea I really love or when a poem I’m trying to write falls into place the way I want it to, I can’t believe how excited I get.

  3. Ahhhhhh yes. Why is it that nighttime seems to set the Muses free to run rampant? And those new story ideas . . . they come at the most inconvenient times. I had a story explode in my brain a week before I hit a deadline, and I spent an entire day scribbling and trying to capture everything as it came. I appreciated the inspiration, but seriously, couldn’t it have waited a few days?

  4. Right now, I’m editing one and have one left to edit. But I have seven different book ideas that I’m dying to start on. My best advice is just take detailed enough notes then finish what you were doing and go back to the new one later. Or go there if you get blocked with the WIP. Congratulations on getting so much writing done, though. That’s very cool indeed! 😀 Also, when you just can’t sleep, Nyquil works wonders. 😉

    • Oooo… Nyquil gives me hangovers. I have absolutely no tolerance for drugs of any kind. But I wish I’d have thought of that Sunday night. Despite how much writing I got done, my brain was not exactly firing on all cylinders, if you know what I mean.

  5. I wish I could go on writing binges like that! I think a lot of the reason I font though is because of my environment, it’s just too hot to sit at my desk and write that long! I’m hoping once we are back on the mainland, with air conditioning, I can focus more. So basically I envy you, and I don’t think you have a problem.

  6.…. I recently came of a crazy stint where I probably went a week and a half to two weeks on about 4-5 hours of sleep with massive time spent writing and editing in the day. It was crazy. I had a deadline and a massive overhaul to finish by said deadline. I met it (yay!) but it was a manic period of time. Sometimes I think I’m monopolar :P. But yeah, write for hours late into the night, then unable to sleep cuz my brain’s still racing and writing. Yup. Writer’s high. Yup. Bursts of quickly writing large quantities of material. Yup. Oh, the joys of being a writer 😛

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