While completing any major project — whether it’s a writing project or Pesach cleaning — it’s very tempting to burn the midnight oil. Sometimes it’s not the threat of missing the deadline that keeps you going until the wee hours; it’s the simple excitement of the flow state.
Just say no. The writing you do late at night is probably not your best, anyway. It reminds me of being around drunks or people high on marijuana: they think they’re being witty and hilarious, when really they just sound like idiots. Lack of sleep will leave you stoned.
You might insist that it’s worth it: you’re a night owl or you’re being courted by the muse. Okay. Maybe if you are truly a night owl, you can handle this. But then you better wake up after ten a.m.
Why? Here are 3 reasons for writers to hit the sack at a decent hour:
- You will not be able to function well the next day. Remember, you will have work to do then, also. Small tasks will feel overwhelming and unmanageable. For example, if you write an extra hour tonight, you might loose two or three hours of writing the next day. Or you might miss errors when you proofread because of lack of focus.
- Your dreaming mind may generate solutions to problems, creative ideas for your work, and gel previously distinct thoughts into a coherent whole. You don’t want to miss out on these gems.
- You become negative when you suffer from sleep debt. You argue. You see things with a negative spin. Rejection letters are harder to take. You respond too quickly and harshly to emails. You turn positive stories on their heads. Writing will be frustrating rather than invigorating.
And now, I’m headed to bed. Feel free to share any deadline/all-nighter horror stories you may have experienced in the comments.