“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” ― Saul Bellow
Have you ever found yourself drifting off to sleep late at night and suddenly an idea strikes you right in the creative part of your brain? You wake up and cannot go back to sleep until you jot this idea down. By the time you’re done, it’s an hour later and you’ve basically written an entire novel!
It’s amazing how this happens to so many writers. I’ve heard lots of my writing friends say, “I hate how it doesn’t let me sleep, but it’s so awesome that it just flows out of me.”
This happens to me all the time, particularly when I’m in the middle of a WIP that I’m concerned about. If I have a passage that is troubling me or which is particularly difficult, my brain will kind of worry away at it until it figures out how to do it right. Unfortunately, that’s usually right when I’m in that sweet spot between drowsiness and actual sleep.
When the idea hits, it’s impossible to just ignore it and go back to sleep. My brain starts to worry at the thread of the idea, slowly unraveling it and basically following the story concept. It creates more and more of the story until I’ve basically got an unwritten novel in my head, and I am forced to get up and write it down.
Nearly a decade ago, I was falling asleep on a dark, stormy Thursday night, somewhere around November the 2nd–Halloween. Suddenly my brain struck with a wicked idea of a dark, gruesome ritual that would be carried out on the night when the fabric between the worlds of the living and dead would be weakened.
Goodbye sleepy time! I was forced to get up and write down the idea, and before I knew it, it was 3 AM and I had a fully-written piece of prose. The entire time I was writing it, I kept getting shivers down my spine, and the shivers are still there every time I read over it.
The night is definitely a time for creativity, which is why I no longer try to stifle the ideas when they come as I’m drifting off to sleep. The love of my life can attest to the number of nights that I’ve gotten up and taken my iPad or laptop to the bathroom to write down my ideas without waking her up. It’s been far too many sleepless nights just because some inspiration sticks in my head until I manage to winkle it out onto a piece of paper.
That’s how The Last Bucelarii came about, as well as a number of the other works you can expect to see over the course of the next decade or so. It’s just the way my mind works, and it’s a truly wonderful experience–which always leaves me exhausted the next day, of course!