I’m un-hygienic…wait that sounds bad, I mean in my sleep. That didn’t make it sound any better did it?
I did a sleep study this week because I feel tired constantly. What I found out is that: I go to sleep easily (but not too easily to be abnormal, what do they know?); I sleep a good length of time most nights; and, I sleep right through without waking up. So why am I tried? My husband would say it has something to do with overworking myself in the day, and then insisting on reading rather than going to sleep. I’ve fought the idea for years, but the results of the sleep study seem to indicate my husband is right. (I hate it when that happens. Since I married a genius I get to hate experiencing his rightness rather frequently.)
Apparently one potential cause of my tiredness is a confused circadian rhythm. This is not the tempo of bug wings flapping (I checked), it is the cycle of your internal clock telling your body when it’s time to sleep. The sleep study suggested that if I improve my sleep hygiene (going to bed and getting up at consistent times, not reading in bed etc.) my body’s rhythms will regulate and my body will know when I am “supposed” to be tired. Apparently this will lead to a more refreshed state the rest of the time.
There could be other cauases…They were not able to completely rule out sleep apnea (I snore, boy do I snore, loud and proud), or better yet some other condition that would make it medically necessary for me to take naps at my desk (I was really pushing for that one). But, before I insist on a diagnostic test that could prove my need to nap at work I guess I’ll try being more hygienic.
I think I’ll hide the results from my husband. Being right too often isn’t good for you. – And I love him so I only want what is good for him. It’s settled, I won’t speak to him of this…unless he reads this post.
NB – The study also suggested that I get another hour of sleep a night as en experiment…apparently some people just naturally need nine hours. I like the idea but when would I fit that in?
Do you ever write with an outline? I used to think that an outline would stifle my creativity, until I tried it. What I discovered is that using an outline doesn’t prevent my creative flow, it just directs it, like a valley directs a river. You know the valley is leading the river in a certain direction, but the river still has the freedom to meander. For this exercise, choose your favorite character, it can be anyone you are interested in. (I’m choosing the antagonist of the novel I’m working on right now to help flesh out his back-story.) Now give them a goal. Try not to be intimidated by this, the goal doesn’t have to be world peace, it could be getting to work, or visiting their mother. Now choose a barrier that your writing will have to flow around. Again, we are not looking to intimidate ourselves, consider a flat tire, or other mundane situation that could prevent forward movement.
You have just written a short outline. Your next step is to give a bit of urgency to the goal or consequence with the story you tell; make the reader care. Why are they wanting to reach the destination? Why don’t they give up when the tire goes flat? Will they achieve their goal, or will the end be a “tragic” failure of that goal. Will they interact with others or will the story be in the head of your character as they deal with their roadblock? Try not to plan this part, just start writing; this is the part where your creative mind will take over. Just remember, no reading, judging or editing while you write. Writing time is for writing, stretch those creative muscles. Aim to spend forty minutes meandering to your end point.
NB. Remember an outline is a guide and your creative process is the river. If needed your creative side can create a flash flood to move out of the river valley, but for this exercise try going with the flow. Happy writing.