At the beginning of the month, I made this stupid resolution about going to bed earlier. Okay, it wasn’t a stupid resolution. It was a smart one. But if I’d really been smart, I’d have known from day one that it would be impossible for me to keep.
Yeah, my workload is insane. But it isn’t just that. For some reason, I do my best writing late, late, late at night, hours after the Maiden’s turned in, and even after I’ve read my nighttime reading and drunk my nighttime tea and taken my “calm the mind” tablets. That’s when the light bulb goes on in my brain, and I just have to sit down at the computer and type. Only for a minute.
A minute later, it’s 1:30 in the morning and I have to get up soon. Of course, I’m so heart-pumpingly psyched up by the writing process that I can’t possibly settle down enough to sleep. So I might as well do one more thing, right?
And we go on from there.
I was moaning to my mom about how this simply wasn’t working out–even though I knew I needed to make it happen. That’s when she said something shocking: “Why don’t you let yourself stay up late, then?”
Take note, Maiden: a mom told her daughter to stay up. There’s hope for us yet.
My mom’s point, though, was that I seem to blossom at this late-night hour. Maybe I’m a night owl. Maybe I just need a few hours of peace and quiet before the creative juices can start flowing. Maybe I need to slough off the pressures of the day.
I’ve always tried finishfinishfinishfinish THEN relax. Maybe the opposite would work.
She suggested that I give myself permission to stay up ’til ungodly hours once or twice a week. That way I could get my golden writing time in without feeling guilt as the minutes ticked by–yet still get decent sleep most of the rest of the week.
And maybe when I did go down for the night I’d actually be able to sleep more peacefully, since my mind wouldn’t be tormented by fragmented bits of unwritten word begging to be let out.
The past two weeks were a little irregular–the Maiden’s performances one weekend and a Mardi Gras Ball the next and the Super Bowl after that–but I’m going to try implementing my mom’s idea this week. In fact, the first full week of February seems a time for new New Year’s resolutions.
Here’s to late-night productivity–and moms who, more than 30 years later, still do know best!