Insomnia and Creativity Go Hand in Hand

Posted: June 22, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

I do so love a good all nighter!

Reminds me of that time I had to complete a final paper for a college literature course and I got stuck on page five of 20.

I had drafted the first five pages with ease. Weeks before,  I had typed up those first five inspired pages on my trusty Brother (back before computers made it a breeze to edit and rework copy).

So imagine a college Senior, eager to complete this 20 page project and get on with my Life! Sitting at the dining room table (or rather the card table that served as such) I starred hard at the bottom half of the fifth page…blank…uninspired. Simply stuck on where to go from the point I had left off.

My roommate Dan did his best to coax and coach me to relax, let the ideas flow, and just type something but I was a deer in the headlights. But I was determined to sit at that card table, fingers on the keys, and referencing my outline and notes, I prayed for guidance. None came.

So Dan got radical on me. How you ask?

He challenged me to pull out the ½ filled page in my typewriter and replace it with a fresh blank sheet.  “Just start over from the beginning.”

He actually suggested that. “Are you crazy?” I cried through my tears of exasperation. He meant it. And he even managed to CONVINCE me to give it a try after a short break from that card table. Even made me a cup of coffee (as I recall) and said he’d be back in a few hours to check on me.

I’m not quite sure how either of my roommates got any sleep that night with me clacking away on the keys, and some how they did sleep through the clickety clack kachunk of that stiff keyboard.

Somehow, that paper got entirely rewritten “from scratch” and by 11am I was literally racing to campus to drop it off at the teacher’s office by noon.

Best part of this nightmare of a college story, is the happy ending: I got an A- on that paper after all the struggle. Dan was brilliant and I told him so when I saw him next.

The lesson learned as it applies to the notion of writing to enhance your business and online presence:

1. Try starting with a blank page when you are stuck.

2. Give up on being stubborn about that blog post you must write.

3. And consider that it probably isn’t the time to be expressed, when you are struggling that much to complete the writing.

4. Write another and come back to the “great idea.”

5. Turn to that “editorial calendar” you created for yourself (or spend some time brainstorming in that thick night energy.)

Every now and then that sleepless night can be a windfall to one’s creative  output and getting in touch with one’s writing voice.

  1. Andre Kahr says:

    I too like the blank page approach. Likewise, I very much relate to a “blank mind” state from which to express.If I can connect with that, late night or any other time (after a good exercise session or early in the morning for example)I’m able to bring my greatest creativity into play. I’m a night owl too though, so possible disruption of circadian rhythms aside, I totally agree with late night creative bursts….

  2. Deborah – I’m so glad you put finger to keypad about this! Your description of “thick night energy” conjures up that almost magical element of writing late into the night… It’s such a long time since I did this and often castigated myself for doing so, as I wasn’t sticking to a better bedtime routine etc but it’s often THE best time to write for me [and others, it seems]. I too was an early-hours writing at college.

    So now, when the urge comes upon me, I shall go with the flow of that night energy and see what it can conjure up for me.. and not beat myself up for spoiling my routine! Thank you 🙂

    • deborahdrake says:


      Thank you so much! For the comment and for finding inspiration in this post. I go through phases, and would rather stay up late and be creative and productive, as opposed to sedating myself or tossing in a dark room. A workshop at Women of Wisdom years ago by an insomnia specialist of sorts Sondra Kornblatt offered a different way to look at Insomnia.

      I see that you are also a Recovery Coach and a graduate of Crossroads Coaching! I have known Alida for years and have been working with her for years as well.

      Thank you for being inspired to see a sleepless night as an opportunity to create with the added bonus of thick night energy as your friend.

      Blessings and Happy Writing at all hours!

  3. Sean Earley says:

    I can totally relate Deborah. I am like the king of blank page, start overs.

    Most of my best stuff either happens in one long intense flow (usually as fast a possible with no spell checking) or just in little chunks of do overs that I compile the best pieces of.

    Great post!

    • deborahdrake says:


      I am so pleased you found Biznik and the Savvy Bloggers group. And I await my day for a late night chat via GoogleTalk or Skype.

      Nothing like a deadline to inspire me and late nights of quiet and time to think are worth it, from time to time. I really enjoy your blog and will as we agreed post your guest post. You are welcome anytime to guest post on mine!

      Blank pages are canvasses of pure possibility. Late night writing without fatigue is when I craft some of my most inspired words. And I believe it is because of the ABSENCE of INTERRUPTIONS…(smile).

      I’m following you through your blog and enjoying it very much!

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