The Writer’s Dilemma

14:365 Pen & Paper

14:365 Pen & Paper (Photo credit: mattbeckwith)

First posted in January of this year… (But always relevant.)

It’s the age old question for writers who wake up in the middle of the night and lie there writing poems, posts, and clever book blurbs in their heads —  get up and write it down, or try and go back to sleep and remember it in the morning.

You know the drill, you write and write in this wonderfully imaginative mind of yours, knowing you should turn on the light and jot down the amazing ideas, but fearing you’ll disturb your husband, not that he isn’t already disturbed (okay, so that didn’t come out sounding the way it should), or that doing so will cause you to be unable to get back to sleep.

Sometimes you do write it down and then later, finding the scraps of paper, you’re amazed at what this half asleep brain comes up with and grateful that you took the chance.

And then other times, like last night, you think about how cold it is, even by the edge of the covers. It’s been 27 degrees F outside all day, and surely in this woodstove-heated-house, it’s too cold to venture even one arm out to the nightstand. And you know, of course, that the pen will be missing, that you’ll never get back to sleep. So you lie there telling yourself you will remember THE GREAT IDEA, how could you, after all, forget something so earth-shatteringly good? And so you recite it over and over to make sure you will remember, which serves only to keep you awake longer, the very thing you were trying to avoid. And you go on to contemplate other great questions, such as why you can’t find stationary in stores anymore, or whether or not learning to tweet is a good idea or is better off left alone (as your seventeen-year-old son advised: “Mom, Twitter is not for you.”)

And then morning comes, and you were just starting to get back to sleep, but oh, you must get out of bed, icicles or not, and on the radio Phillip Phillips is singing “Home,” and about how it will all be clear, and you know you made a mistake. Your mind is as clear as the freezing fog outside. What was the great post? Was the poem really about that you might be the next to die? Who would want to read THAT? You try to remember the earth-shattering book blurb and scrawl it down before it too evaporates like the steam from the teapot. And darn it, you’re tired. You’re spent. And for what?

Your spouse gets out of bed three hours after you and wonders why you are looking at him so maliciously, what did he do now?

And so you go up to your room, make sure there is a pen and pad by your bed, and pray for warmer days.

S. Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade series, Seed SaversVisit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

2 comments on “The Writer’s Dilemma

  1. haha i’ve taken notes in my hand with an eyeliner in a similar situation.

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