I don’t miss that feeling of fear I used to get when I would wake up in the middle of the night. Whether it was 2AM or 4AM, I would panic. I am not talking about those moments where you open your eyes for a split second and roll back to sleep. I’m talking those wide awake experiences, where even when you try, your eyelids refuse to close.
I would panic because I needed my sleep. I needed it to function through my eight, sometimes more hour days. And because of that panic I would not get up. No matter how much I tossed and turned I would pull the covers closer and wait. Wait for sleep to descend again.
I am one of those people who needs her sleep. I can function pretty well on 6 to 7 hours, but it has to be uninterrupted, good sleep. Without it, by early afternoon I can feel as badly and as hungover as I would if I had drank two bottles of wine by myself, not to mention cranky.
I would lay there, thinking ahead to how tired I would be and how little I would accomplish if I did not get more sleep. I would pray silently and offer thanks in advance that by the time the alarm did go off I would have gotten another precious hour in.
Often it was at those moments that my next sentence in my book would pop in. At first I would ignore them. Mostly because writing was not yet my day job. My day job was paying the bills and it took precedence. And I needed my sleep to function.
After a while I caught on that if I did not write them down, they would escape into the ether, only to be seen again if I was very, very lucky. So I would keep a note pad next to me, scribble down the words and hope I would be able to understand my own handwriting in the morning.
But that was then and this is now. Yesterday when I found myself awake at 4AM, a brand new week in front of me, I lingered. It was Monday. I needed my rest. Then ideas started to rush forth. For a blog. For the next sections in my new novel.
I got up. I turned on the computer, made coffee and in the dark of the early morning, before the sun started to rise on the East Side of Manhattan, I started to write. I didn’t worry about my sleep. I didn’t dread the possibility that hungover feeling would start to creep up. Because if it did, when it did, I could just go take a nap.