Wednesday, June 16, 2010

To sleep, perchance to zzzzz....

Know what the best tool in my Writer's Toolbox is?


I admit it. I LOVE to sleep.

I love that drowsy little moment when you're just on the brink...and then when you tumble over it into temporary oblivion.

I love the long stillness, the quieting of reality.

I love coming out of it s-l-o-w-l-y, stretching and yawning in my bed until my brain is ready to re-enter the world.

And the dreams! Boy howdy, I do love those dreams. And not only the *nudge-nudge, wink-wink* special ones. I love all kinds. They're just so gosh darned entertaining. My subconscious is a helluva (warped) storyteller. (Don't pretend you're surprised.)

But the real reason I love sleep is that I can't function without it. Seriously, when I don't get enough, I am Zombie-Linda. Foot-draggin', mouth-hangin'-open, blank-behind-the-eyes Linda.

Trust me, it ain't pretty.

A good eight hours is ideal. I can face anything after eight blissful hours in the recharge zone. Petty annoyances of the daily grind variety? Eh. They roll right off. Unexpected calamities? Handled with aplomb. Out and out emergencies? I'm your level-headed gal.

But deprive me of time spent with the other god in my life--Hypnos, the Greek God of Sleep--and I get downright dysfunctional. Not to mention testy.

[Oh, and not to worry--TG is totally cool about the time I spend with Hypnos. In fact, whenever possible, we make it a threesome. ;) ]

The worst thing about not getting enough sleep (for me) is that I can't think straight. My mind slows to the point where I swear it's moving backwards. For a writer, this is Not Cool. My books are supposed to be fast-paced. Funny. Full of wit. Without sleep, the wit won't come. I am full of The Dumb.

Some of my writer buddies can hold down a day job, spend quality time with their families, and still manage to steal enough time to finish whole novels. They credit coffee and/or diet cola. This totally baffles me. Does caffeine really glue their synapses together that well? Because I've tried, and all it does is make me wired and dumb.

The ones I really envy (to the point where my complexion turns a sickly shade of pale green) are those who blithely say, "Sleep? Why, four or five hours a night is more than enough for me."

Aargh. I don't give a flying fig if you have more money than I do. If your house is bigger, if your children are smarter. I couldn't care less if you're younger, prettier, and more athletic than I am.

But don't you dare show up looking well-rested after staying up all night being productive. Or I may have to hurt you.

Now, pardon me while I take a nap. I'm sure TG won't mind if I sneak in a quickie with Hypnos. I'll make it up to him later, when I'm well-rested enough to think of more exciting things to do in bed than sleep. ;)


Candyland said...

I could use a little sleep myself. I admit, I often use the aid of PM meds or I can't fall asleep:/

Sharon Axline said...

You know Hypnos? I know Hypnos! Great guy!

I'm with you on the sleep thing Linda. And for me it's like 9 - 10. I too am a lumbering lummox if I don't get enough sleep. And even with a constant IV drip of coffee followed by repeated shots of diet coke will NOT help.

I honestly don't know how people (my critique group included) are able to do all they do AND write.

If I can't sleep I can't write - period.

Hey say Hi to Hippie for me and tell him - my place 9 sharp!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I hear ya! In fact I just woke up from a nap. I knew I needed it, just 30 minutes, or I'd be a wreck all day long. I love to sleep! I don't understand how people can go around sleep deprived and still function.

abby mumford said...

i am the SAME way. it took me awhile to figure out that i can't hang with the "big boys" (i.e. those that need minimal sleep). i need a lot of sleep to be productive. it's nice to know i'm in good company.

Unknown said...

ha! I have to admit that I'm one of those people that you might have to hurt. **hides from Linda** I can function beautifully on 4 or 5 hours but give me 8 and I'm like a zombie. Hypnos just doesn't like me as well as he does you ;)

PS...I gave you an award over on my blog :)

Elizabeth Ryann said...

Want to know the cruelest thing nature ever did to me? I cannot take a nap without waking up with a headache. 100% of the time. This means if I get less than 7 hours, I have a headache. If I take a quick 20 minute refresher, I have a headache. And yet...I can function, slowly, painfully, with a headache. I cannot function without sleep.

I really really should buy stock in Excedrin.

Linda G. said...

Candyland -- I rarely have trouble falling asleep. Fortunately, because those sleeping meds zombify me worse than no sleep. My problem comes if I have to stay up too late or get up too early. Puts me off my game.

Sharon -- Glad I'm not the only one. I'll send Hippie your way when I'm done with him. You can be sure he'll be well-rested. ;)

KarenG -- Ah, another member of the Hypnos fan club, I see. I don't get that whole "functioning" thing either. Envy the hell out of it, though.

Mumfusa -- Welcome to the club. We'd have meetings if it didn't interfere with naptime. ;)

Karla -- I will stifle the urge to hit you with my memory foam pillow, but only because you gave me such a nice award on your blog. :)

Elizabeth -- Wow. That totally sucks. Excedrin really does work for headaches, though, thank goodness.

Anne Gallagher said...

I used to be one of those people you would hurt. Now, not so much. I have to nap, at least 40 minutes in the afternoon. I chalk it up to my writing in the morning -- it sucks all the life out of me and if I don't replenish then I will be no good for anything.

Kari Lynn Dell said...

I love to sleep. Love it more than chocolate, even. My body is betraying me. After years of being a solid eight or nine hours a night person, I find myself struggling to sleep beyond six. The last three mornings I've been awake at four thirty, even though the alarm doesn't go off until six. Finally just got up because I was bored.

What the hell? I have no desire whatsoever to be a morning person. Stop it!!


I was a journalist in my younger years, and since I worked for a lot of smaller papers, it was pretty much par for the course to pull all-nighters at least once or twice a week. It always seemed normal to me, until I got a job that DIDN'T require a crazy schedule.

Now I'm so protective of my sleep time that I will cheerfully rip your arm off if you dare interrupt my ability to get 8 hours a night. I swear, my thirst for sleep is one of the key reasons we never, ever considered having children!


Linda G. said...

P.W. -- Good thing you got over that obnoxious doesn't-need-much-sleep thing. Now I won't have to turn green when I see your name. ;)

Kari -- WTF? That's horrible! Maybe if you just lie there and think mundane thoughts you'll bore yourself back to sleep? Sure hope this is a temporary aberration for you! :)

Tawna -- Um, remind me never to share a room with you. ;) And, yeah, small fry are not very conducive to regular sleep. The early years with mine are kinda fuzzy.

Unknown said...

I had a period in my life when the children would go to sleep by nine and I would be in bed by eleven. I got a solid seven hours and I was ready for work and family.

Then two things happened. I started writing seriously, and they got driver licences. Sleep shot to hell. So at night, I was either writing or waiting up for them.

Now I write while I wait up for them, but I don't sleep.

Jeffe Kennedy said...

I guess I'm one of those career/family/novel types - but I make sure to get my 8 hours and it all crumbles into tiny whimpering bits...

Linda G. said...

Jeffe -- It's astounding how much difference a little extra sack-time can make, isn't it?

Linda G. said...

Jeannie -- I so hear you on the teenagers driving thing. Heh. Everyone thinks the infancy through toddler-hood phase is when parents don't get much sleep, but we know different, don't we? But it does get better, so hang in there! :)