I try to write every day. I deeply enjoy it. When I have written something, I feel ecstatic, whether I have furthered a chapter in my novel or made a new blog post.
But for the past week, the creative juices have been flowing with little fluidity. I find myself typing one line and then staring at it for a prolonged period of time, waiting for the rest to come, naturally, easily, like it usually does. But it doesn’t. My characters start talking, but nothing they say has any merit and seems a little out of character, for lack of a better phrase.
So, is it writer’s block? I can definitively say no. The thoughts and actions are available, but they are mired in this cloudy haze of muck, that leaves me staring at a nearly blank screen. Well, if it’s not writer’s block then what is it? Sleepiness. Just plain sleepiness. My mind is fatigued because my sleep debt has built up high enough to sap my creative impulses.
Now, many of you may say, “Sleepiness? Is that all?” Just drink some coffee. Go to Starbuck’s and get a half calf double latte Frappuccino in a pear tree. Pop a Five-Hour Energy. Sleepiness isn’t a problem, but it is. Classically, socially, the accepted amount of sleep for a healthy adult is eight hours. But that’s bullshit. The amount of sleep someone needs to be completely contented and functioning varies from person to person. For me, a good twelve hours and I’m ready to take on the day. But eight to nine hours per day and my sleep debt is little to none.
Sleep debt, you ask? Yes, sleep debt. If you need ten hours of sleep to be good for the day and you only get six, you are building up your sleep debt. I have been building mine up since Wednesday night; sleeping a maximum of five and half to six hours of sleep; even a nap during the day doesn’t help. If I want to get creatively back on track, I am going to start sleeping eight hours or more from this night forward. Sounds easy, but the biggest thing to get in the way to sleep is being awake. There is so much that everyone needs or wants to do; that usually people start sacrificing sleep in order to get things done.
The importance of sleep is probably lost on all of us; as we set is aside for work, family or play, but for our children, we go through great lengths to insure that our children are getting lengthy, recuperative sleep; we need to insure the same thing for ourselves. The truth is that there can be profound biological effects on the body from sleep deprivation; from emotional instability to high blood pressure to hallucinations. We have so many things working against us; preservatives in food, pollution, climate change; why should we add to the mounting heap of environmental factors lurking to make us part of the food chain. Let’s take care of ourselves; turn off the TV, turn off the phone, put down the controller and go to bed. Get a good night of deep, nourishing sleep. There are those who can’t sleep no matter what they do. For those of us who can and don’t, we need to take advantage of our fortune, since fortunes can and do run out.