A few days ago, at 5am, I wrote the post 'Off We Went'. It proceeded a restless night where I couldn't sleep, and couldn't focus my thoughts.
When I tell people I can't sleep, they often make the assumption, "too many thoughts running through your head?' They're right, but it's not worry or anxiety, at least not usually, and it's not creative thoughts either.
Yet it is definitely linked to my creativity. I am very proud of 'Off We Went'. It was written in about five minutes, an instant stream of writing after hours of not sleeping. It's not based on a real experience. It's a story about two people leaving their city surroundings and heading to the British countryside. In truth, I'm not sure I've seen a tree all year. So the story is fictional, and it came from nowhere.
But it wouldn't have been written if I'd fallen asleep. Was I awake because I needed to process that particular idea? Sounds like an over-romanticized thought, I agree; would the brain really keep me up all night to write a fictional piece about British mountains?
Side note: I like the piece but the lack of comments would suggest it didn't connect with my readers. It feels all the more humbling to think that your brain can keep you up a whole night only to provide an idea that isn't very good.
My brain at night is crazy. Chaos. Flies off in different directions... Hunts down things of interest, scripts to write, women to think of, places to go--- but none of them hold, I keep on zipping by---- and then sometimes I land on a thing. A place that gives me a feeling, which becomes the seed of a creative idea. But not always. Sometimes I just don't sleep and the next day I suffer from tiredness and grumpiness.
Should I medicate? I don't think so. I could lose so much. Or I could do it the healthier way, meditate and listen to raindrops, but is that really what I need? Sure, I can be creative in the middle of the day but I'm telling you, the night is unique, the texture of your thoughts and ideas are different.
Is it a curse or privilege? I realise it's a bit egotistical to suggest it's a privilege, my late night blogs aren't going to gain me a knighthood from the Queen. But maybe the ideas that reach me at 5.34am are sometimes worthwhile, and people connect to them. That makes it worth it, somehow, although it's hard to feel that when I have to be up at 7.30am.
What is happening when your brain is firing so many seemingly random thoughts through your mind? It's as if the neurons in my brain have awoken and are desperate to make new connections and jolt down new pathways. At least, it's exciting to think of it that way. Kind of takes the pressure off me in terms of creativity. I don't have to force ideas, my brain will just deliver them to me at night after a few hours of random brain activity. A nice thought which I've cobbled together with made up neuroscience. Maybe there's some truth in it.
Or maybe I need to stop writing to you in the middle of the night.