I’m not a complete insomniac, but I am good friends with the early hours. Why is it that the ideas come then?
It’s not an uncommon predicament. A quiet space without distractions is hard to achieve during the day. Night-time brings with it a natural pause, and as the responsibilities which dictate over and shape the day, lose their hold, there is a space for ideas to form. It’s more than that though. Night Writing is more than simple time mechanics or logistics.
For me, writing has often felt like a clandestine affair, a guilty secret, something I indulge in when I should really be doing something else, something sensible. It is an unusual perspective, I know. Most writers will tell you the opposite. Most writers lament the fact that they have not written on a particular day, and will express guilt at not having achieved their chosen word count.
A little voice in my ear (yes, I frequently hear Them) tells me that this is because they are proper writers, and have earned the right. With such fine writing credentials, of course they should be writing. What else could possibly be as important? I know even as these words hit the page, the nonsense of that sentiment. We all have the right. Get writing!
Then there is that amazing ability which our brains have, to continue working while we rest. We check out for a few hours, and our sub-conscious continues to compute in our absence. It works on, composting all of the thoughts we have been processing, perhaps struggling over, until we wake (very early in my case), somewhat revived and ready to make use of all that beautifully ordered data which only yesterday was chaos.
A friend from my writing group (let’s call her Doc) swears that when she struggles with a scene or is missing that vital plot point, she goes to bed repeating the scenario to herself along with the mantra…..
“I will solve it, I will!”
Invariably she wakes with the solution.
Finally, there is also the power and the romance of Night itself. For a fiction writer, Night is a most versatile companion. One of the greatest tools in our armoury, it falls dependably, reliably, giving rise to a wealth of opportunities just begging to be composed. Night can be fashioned into either a timely pause or an escalation of action. Darkness and intrigue are a given, but it is also a time to dream, to star gaze. It is a time for fear to manifest, or for worry to emerge, a time to love, to lust, to reflect. It is a time for revenge to burn, for jealousy to seep, or sometimes, just a time to sleep. The possibilities are endless and for me – that is why.
So, the question I have is: when do your ideas come? In the car? Whilst you are washing up? Walking the dog? I’d love to know.