Sometimes I start with a title, other times I write the entire post first and choose my title based on what I wrote. Tonight I start with the title. Immediately upon writing it, I realize that the title is misleading, because it implies that the Night is the subject and that Writes is the thing that it’s doing. Which is nonsense. I do the writing around here. No, in my head it was the Night (adjective) Writes (noun), like the DTs or the heebie-jeebies. In other words, the title is a problem. I could change it BUT I WON’T because problems are what make the world turn. Just ask that guy who sang about the problems and the b-words. I feel like things worked out for him pretty well.
Anyway, yeah, the Night Writes. I have them. It’s not an ideal situation. I really prefer to get my productive endeavors in during the daylight hours, the earlier the better, so that I can have that lovely little nether-tickle of accomplishment buoying me along all through the day. Unfortunately, with two kids now in the house, and the childcare starting at oh about fargo-all-thirty in the morning and lasting until fifteen-after-please-shoot-me at night, stealing that time to write during the day just isn’t that likely. You’ve heard that saying about taking candy from a baby. It suggests that dealing with children is easy. I submit that that saying was not penned or spoked by anybody who actually had to hang around with the kid afterward. Sure, you can take the candy. Eat it in front of them too, just stare ’em down while you chomp down their candy bar, which for a child is the ONLY SOURCE OF HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD at the moment when they see it. It’s just that there will be screaming. And screaming makes it hard to write. Or think. Or OH GOD THE TWO-YEAR-OLD WAS JUST CRYING ON THE MONITOR, IS HE AWAKE? HIDE ME LEST HE YANK ME FROM MY BED WITH HIS STICKY TODDLER FINGERS nevermind false alarm everything’s cool.
So of late, I write at night, when everybody is asleep. It’s odd. For the first months of the project I wrote at my desk, at home or at work, which has a nice serious feel to it: this is a space for working and working is what I’m doing. Even wore a suit and tie a lot of days. Made me feel like a professional, like this was something I really had some business doing. When I night write, it’s a totally different feel. I write in bed. Bed is not a place for working. In fact it’s probably the place in the house that is least suited to doing work. Also, I’m mostly naked. So now you have that to wrap your funny little mind around. What I’m getting at is that the writing loses much if not all of its officialness, much of its gravitas when it’s done pantsless in close proximity to a lightly slumbering spouse and a more lightly slumbering four-week old. (Sidenote: Holy Sharknado, Sprout the Second is four weeks old. I thought we brought her home from hospital just a few days ago.)
Thankfully, however, that hasn’t stopped me from getting the work done. Official-feeling or not, suited up or not, the words are still flowing and I am progressing towards my goal. Progressing is the wrong word. At this point, the landing gear is down and your seat backs should be locked in their upright motherfargoing positions, because this little flying deathtrap is coming in for a landing. I might or might not walk away from it in one piece, and I might or might not be on fire when I exit the aircraft, but one way or another it will no longer be lurching through the sky like a wounded pelican.
I’m not sure there’s hard evidence of this — though I feel there must be — but I feel that the work I’ve done while in bed has a distinctly different feel than the work I’ve done sitting at a desk. I could be wrong. Something about holding sleep at bay with a pitchfork and a handful of crackling live wires lends a certain drowsiness-slash-desperation-slash-delirium to the work that it never had when I wrote, comfortably awake, with the light of the day. I’m not saying it’s better or worse, just different.
That said, I just don’t think this is feasible for me long-term. The night time is for sleeping, not for smashing my fingers against the wordmakers, churning out wordcount into the black of night for the vampires to pick over. (NOTE TO FUTURE SELF: WRITE BOOK ABOUT VAMPIRES THAT EAT THE WORDS OUT OF BOOKS.)
Sigh. Writing at night also means that the Id-Writer is especially mouth-foamy and therefore prone to tossing brilliant (?) ideas out when I’m trying to focus. So there’s that to keep a handle on as well.
All seriousness, I am blessed — though I usually avoid using the word blessed — to have children that (mostly) sleep through the night and a wife who allows me to take an occasional afternoon nap when I stay up late throwing the wordhammer around. And as long as the words keep coming and I still want to write (and, knock on wood, I do, I really do), I will have no earnest complaint.
See you tomorrow night. WHEN THE INK-VAMPIRES COME OUT.
6 thoughts on “The Night Writes”
Oh, so true!
This post really struck a chord. I struggle to find time when the children aren’t around because it’s impossible to finish a thought with them around, which makes the writing process so frustrating.
That said, INK-VAMPIRES is a brilliant idea so maybe I should give the night-writing thing a go ;).
Congratulations on Sprout the Second! 🙂
Sometimes I feel like that guy in the short story by an author I can’t recall, which is really shameful: he was too smart, so the government fitted him with a device which played horrifically loud noises in his ears every fifteen seconds so he couldn’t string his thoughts together. A fitting metaphor for kids sometimes, I think.
Anyway, thanks 🙂
Two things, from my experience. One is that I don’t write in bed. It’s too hard to not get overly drowsy. On nights I must write (most) I leave my peacefully slumbering wife and find my recliner downstairs and a laptop desk. It’s comfy, but a little spring-worn, so not comfy enough to sleep in. I write then, till the urge passes. Two, earplugs are frappin’ marvelous things when trying to write around children. 😉
Good advice. It’s almost like you’ve been doing this for a while 😛
*chuckles* Just a bit, yes. 😉 Yesterday, I had two adorable but very loud children (not my own) insist on playing in whatever room I moved to. Earplugs…ahhhh earplugs! I like the ones with the highest decibel rating. One of them’s a 2 yr old girl after all. 😉
I know a little something about two year olds.