10 Thoughts From a Sleep-Deprived Writer’s Brain

Yeah, so I’ve had a bout of insomnia for the past few months. Usually, I snap out of it within a few days, but I’ve had some other things working in the background and it’s been BAD. I’ve tried everything and no luck. It is so bad that I am not even sure what day it is. I think it’s Tuesday. Is it Tuesday? Crap, I hope it’s Tuesday.

I am constantly asking myself what day it is.

According to my research, you cannot “cure” sleep deprivation or “catch up” on sleep. What’s lost is lost. Which really sucks. So this may be a bit of a disjointed, weird list. Just roll with it, k?

So, on to the thoughts!

1) I did dream last night, so I must have slept a bit at least. Something about me drawing my own book covers, and showing them off. In the dream, they were in crayon. Yes. Oops. (I assure you, Ever Touched’s cover will NOT be in crayon. Promise.) What on earth would lead me to dream that? I’ve got the cover figured out. I just need to, yanno, do it. (In between editing projects). Thinking about lining up all those sci-fi doodads is already making me tired. Yawn…..

2) My typing accuracy is for shit right now. I either hit the wrong letters, or skip them altogether, or smoosh whole words together. I like that word: “smoosh.” I want to smoosh something now, just because I, in my sleep-deprived addled state, think I can.

3) The TV show Bones came back for the last, short season and I missed the first two episodes. Were I not sleep deprived, I would have remembered. Clearly. It’s also on Tuesdays at 9 as opposed to Thursdays at 8 (like it’s been for years) and it’s seriously weirding me out. (By the way, I will miss this show so much when it’s over. It’s been 12 years. They did the same thing with House, M.D. and I have still not gotten over it. Mondays are once again to be hated. Le sigh.)

4) I’m less than 100 pages away from finishing my second round of edits on Ever Touched. I also had the next book announce itself recently and it’s really interesting. It will most likely be the end, though, unless something even more magnificent announces itself. Where did this book idea come from? Has my muse been working overtime while I haven’t been sleeping? As far as I know, writing stuff hasn’t been keeping me awake…

5) Life is damn weird when you get to this level of sleepiness. You’re constantly ready for a nap, and if it’s not appropriate to take one right then, who cares because sleep deprivation. Everything literally feels like a dream, and I remember it like it was. Doctor’s appointment yesterday? I remember what happened, what was said, etc, but it’s hazy. Maybe I did dream it…. My memory has gone to crap as well. I can’t remember much of anything these days. I had a new medication prescribed (or did I dream it? But that begs the question, what medication did I actually take last night??!) and I had to take it at a certain time and I knew I wouldn’t remember so I set another alarm on my phone. For those playing along at home, that makes THREE. Because I can’t friggin remember. And I have to write more down at work lately, and my boss probably thinks I am losing my marbles, and I live in perpetual fear that I’ve forgotten something super important. Like, constantly. Every time I close, I run though everything at least twice before I leave. This sucks. I do not recommend it.

6) Luckily, my editing skills have been unaffected. Probably because it’s so automatic to me now. So, never fear, everything I edit will be fine and not horrible. That comes from like, 20 years of editing stuff. So, #nofear, all is well, I promise. 🙂

7) Mornings suck even worse now. They normally suck, because I am a night owl who loves sleep (ironic, that!) but now? I’ve got to talk myself into getting up: “Okay, c’mon, you gotta go to work. You don’t want to get fired, seriously.” “No.” “You’ll miss the bus!” “Uh….” “You won’t have a way to work and you’ll be in trouble, seriously.” “Uh…” “C’mon, it’s time. Really. Just do it. Like jumping into a pool all at once instead of slowly getting in. Like ripping a Band-Aid off.” “Okay, fine. But you owe me.” “Owe you what? More sleep? Wait till the weekend.” “Okay, fine. I’ll do it. But this is under duress!”

8) I also noticed that my handwriting has become almost illegible. Normally, it’s pretty bad, honestly. Most people can’t read it. (There are times when can’t even read it. Oops). But now…I was reading some notes I took for an email and if it wasn’t for the fact that I’d just taken them and remembered  (yay!) most of it, I never would have been able to do it from my handwriting alone. Scary stuff. (In graphology — the study of handwriting, which I studied as a teenager for funsies — they say that illegible handwriting suggests that a person is hiding something. Anything. But for the life of me, I can’t imagine what I’m hiding, except the fact that I feel drunk even though I haven’t taken a single sip of alcohol in literally years. Or that I’ve never been drunk ever. Go figure.)

9) Lying awake hour after hour and not sleeping is an effective torture method. You’re tired, almost in a stupor, but when you lay down and close your eyes, nothing happens. You’re wide a freaking wake. You toss and turn. You listen to your husband’s breathing. You hear virtually everything — every shift of his body, every drip of the faucet, every time the cat meows for playtime (at 2:30am!). And you want so desperately to sleep but find it impossible. A few times, I almost cried because I was so frustrated. I have fibromyalgia, and losing sleep is BAD and can bring on a major flare. So far, that hasn’t happened….yet. (I was even reminded of fatal famillal insomnia, a genetic disorder where the brain, over time, loses the ability to go into the sleep state. The person stops being able to sleep and eventually dies. Because REM sleep is essential to our functioning. Anyway, I wondered if there was a relative out there who had it and I never knew….but usually these people know, and people tend to die young and….it’s absolutely horrifying. It’s probably not happening here, but man, I almost freaked out at the thought.

10) So last night was a good night of sleep. I am hoping I will have another good night. And another. And another. And things will start feeling more real and less like a dream, I will remember stuff, my handwriting will go back to being terrible but not horrendous, I will feel better, I won’t be taking spontaneous naps everywhere, I won’t have to lie awake and ponder scary sleep diseases, I won’t hear my cat, I’ll feel better, my dreams might make more sense, and I will feel better and less like a zombie. Not too much to hope for, right? Just a few more good nights. And a few more. And a few more.

And then I can return to living. Cause this ain’t it, folks.

But damn, there is some great story fodder in this. Probably the only good thing about it.

Conclusion: sleep deprivation sucks.


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