Monthly Archives: June 2010

Night Writers: Birds of a Different Feather

What hath night to do with sleep?
~John Milton

Do your best ideas occur at night? Do you enjoy writing at the weirdest hours of the day when rationality ceases to rule?

Your ability to work (& when) is genetically encoded and cannot be erased. Scientists have long known that early and late risers have genetic differences. Our preference for early rising (an A-person or lark) and late rising (a B-person or owl) is as genetically determined as eye or hair colour. Creative people are not lazy or sinister or vampiric just because their circadian rhythm is different from most people! 

I am a night writer. And I am not alone. Researchers say 10% of us are extreme owls, 10% are extreme larks and the remaining 80 % fall in between. Yet, I am a night owl in a 9 – 5 job (help!), which can present its challenges since our work culture is biased towards the rhythms of the average lark (a bit “sleepist,” yes).

I live for the day when my existence is not dictated by an alarm clock. In the meantime, in an effort to help my fellow writers of the night live comfortably in an early bird world, I offer the following.

7 Random Resources for Night Owls:

You share your Night Owl status with: Winston Churchill, Thomas Hardy, Catherine O’Hara, T.S. Eliot, Edgar Allan Poe, Keith Richards, and Elvis Presley.

Once an owl, always an owl!

Beckie

Also see Viva La B-Revolution: How to be a B-person and not get fired

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Drip by drip

“If you’re going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write. Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow.” Louis L’Amour

If you’re a regular visitor to the Restless Writers’ blog, you’ve probably noticed some of the changes we’ve been making.

We’ve changed to an easy-to-remember URL: www.restlesswriters.ca.

We have a new email address, in case you want to reach us off-blog: restlesswriters@yahoo.com.

We’ve even posted our Twitter feeds (see right).

For me, these changes are all about making it easier to connect with visitors who want to share stories about the writing life.

If you’re visiting us, we hope you enjoy these new features.

And we hope they get your writing taps flowing.

Maria

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Restless Writin’ Mama

Last night my fellow Restless Writers (both child-free) e-mailed me after work asking if I’d join them for an impromptu drink. I replied that I couldn’t because…how did I put it?…oh yes – my kids were being assholes.

This is where it should be noted that I love my children (honestly!) and normally adore being with them. My family has been the main catalyst that got me writing – I finally had the time (typing while nursing is an art), endless material and, most importantly, the confidence to try. (Because let me tell you, after pushing out a ten-pounder with only half the epidural kicking in, you can do a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g.)

It doesn’t diminish the fact that most parents feel that, from time to time, their precious darlings are acting a bit…well…ass’ish.

I won’t bore you with the details (grape popsicles on bedroom carpets and make-up in the toilet), but it really drove home a question that Beckie and Maria have brought up: How in the name of Huggies do mothers find the time to write?

I spent over a year writing my manuscript with a newborn and four-year-old, which sounds a bit insane. I’ve spent the three years since revising and querying my manuscript, which sounds a bit sad.

I’ve written late into the night and early in the morning (conclusion: no one can write coherently at 4:00 a.m., except maybe monks). I work from home and, with one kid at school and the other napping, I desperately try to cram a full work day into those two hours (all of this while – not to sound too Betty Draper about it – trying to cook and clean for my family). So people look at me and wonder, when do I have time to write for me and why – at this point in my life – do I even bother trying?

My world is currently filled with constant demands on my time. My attention. My effort. At this point, I can’t not write, because it’s my outlet. My indulgence. My sanity.

I look – as ever – to Judy Blume, who wrote her first book at the kitchen table while her kids were at school. I’ve also heard that Kelley Armstrong wrote Bitten during her lunch hour at work while pregnant with her second child. Even Stephen King had to retreat to the loo of his camper to find the solitude required to finish Carrie.

My point being, you find a way. You multi-task. You write because you, my fellow harried parent, are a writer.

Lori

p.s. Feel free to vent in the comments!

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