Having written about making the best use of time for writing and creative projects on Monday, I want to hold myself up as an example of how not to do it.
This has not been a productive week on the fictive side of things due to day job interference. Normally that interference is limited to my time and creative energy being occupied entirely by day job concerns. A classic of that particular genre was June last year when I had three pressing projects all happening simultaneously and a three week holiday to get it all done before.
But that’s just not having any brain left – basically an aggravated form of the situations I described in the artist hour piece.
The problem this week has been sleep. I have not had enough sleep.
Now, it’s worth pointing out that I habitually run a sleep debt. About the most sleep I will usually manage to obtain of a night is seven hours during the day job week. On the weekend, I might be able to catch up somewhat on the weekend, perhaps socking away a ten hour night to help recover. All of this is while I really function best on eight hours of sleep. I have known all of this for a while.
I’ve also suffered some especially woeful sleep weeks in the past. There was one in particular where one of our boys was ill and needed repeated overnight assistance. That was a hard week.
The reason I note this week’s sleep lack here is because of the impact it has had on my writing. I have written a couple of blog posts, but no words or plot or outline. It feels like five in the morning all the time, a time when I can work on well-defined problems but cannot readily perform significantly creative work.
Again, this should be nothing new, except it really is: I’ve only realised the connection because of the contrast between this week and last. While we were away I solved character timing issues effortlessly and corrected the outline to match without hestitation. This week I’ve glanced at the outline and shied away; I’ve struggled with indecision and doubt.
I attributed my improved creativity to working on the difficult stuff when my brain was more ready to address those problems, but now it occurs that the lack of sleep has compounded that problem.
So, get enough sleep. That’s my advice.
All I have to do now is figure out how to follow that advice myself.
Maybe I’ll be able to work on that at the weekend.