Monday, February 01, 2010

Sleepless in Oregon

I had a largely sleepless night last night, but was it ever productive. It was one of those rare nights that I kept waking up every hour or so with my brain busy working on character development and back stories and the many small (and sometimes secret) ways all these folk in the frontier village I'm currently peopling are interconnected. Amazing that the subconscious can keep working while the body sleeps (or tries to sleep).

At one point I drifted off with a vivid picture of a minor character in my mind. I'd cast about for some while in a half wakeful state for a name to go with the face, without success. Next time I woke, still somewhere in the middle of the night, that character's name was the first thought that popped into my head, as sure and settled as someone introducing themselves. "Hi, my name is Seth." "Seth what?" I replied. "Just Seth." Okay... not what I expected, but it is what it is.

I'm thankful for all the insights, but I can't take too many nights like that in a row. Exhausting work! I spent quite a few hours today getting all those mental notes into files, and working on the current scene, plotting scenes for a few chapters ahead of where I'm at based on the nocturnal note-taking in my head. Then after lunch I made a run to the library, did some house work, baking, got dinner going for this evening. While waiting for my computer tech husband, Brian, to get home from work, I grabbed my thumb drive and came back to the computer to back up the day's work. And the computer froze. When I tried to reboot, I got some hideous black error page. Oh no! Had my computer crashed? Had I lost all that valuable work? Was I going to have to somehow reconstruct it? If so, how could I possibly?

A tense half hour passed, and Brian (my hero!) arrived home and trouble shot (shooted?) the problem. Good news, the computer didn't crash and I didn't lose my day's work. It's safely backed up on my thumb drive now. Bad news... my ancient beloved keyboard that I've used for 19 years, the ONLY keyboard I have EVER used and is so big and heavy it takes two strong men to budge it... is no longer with us.

Goodbye Big Guy. I'm gonna miss ya, especially when I have to retype just about every word with this new keyboard that wants to scoot across the desk at the slightest nudge. They don't make 'em like they used to!

What an interesting day it's been. Any other writers out there experience entire nights when your subconscious keeps working on the WIP? This is only the second time for me in nearly twenty years of writing. A writer friend of mine who had this happen the night before last said it must be the full moon.

I kinda wish it would happen more often.


  1. Yes, I think the moon had something to do with it. Do you know where the name "lunatic" came from? It refers to writers who are up all night creating. LOL! This applies to me. I'm such a night owl, and full moons make it worse. It's almost like someone gave me a cup of caffiene, which I never drink at night.

    But even when I do go to bed at a reasonable time, I almost always fall to sleep thinking of my stories and carry them into my subconscious. It's kind of scary to think about. But for my characters, there is no escape!

    Don't wish it it to happen more's a curse. Just kidding.

    I'm glad your computer didn't crash and hope you get use to the new keyboard. I can't believe your old one lasted that long! Don't expect to get that kind of life expectancy out of your new one.

  2. Carla, I certainly felt a bit "luny" after being awake so much that night. I am NOT a night owl, so this was very strange for me. I never once got out of bed, just lay there and watched the movie in my mind playing out. Amazingly I remembered it all vividly when I sat down to work next morning.

    As for my keyboard, technically it still works. It's only the plug thingie that connects to the socket thingie (sorry, I am not computer literate!) on the new computer that have become incompatible. I'm making fewer mistakes on this new keyboard than I was yesterday, so looks like I will adapt before too long.

    LOL, I never thought about our characters wanting some time off from us. I've thought of it the other way around now and again....