Middle of the Night Writings

I’ve heard of this happening to other writers, but for me it’s a first. It’s the middle of the night, and I’m drawn to the computer, taking the opportunity to write while the house is quiet.

It’s nearing the end of the July school holidays and these past few days, I feel like I’ve embodied Franz Kafka’s quote:

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.

The last school term passed in a beautiful blur. I wrote constantly, not missing a single day. I managed to submit an entry to the Richell Prize for Emerging Writers, a few days before the cut-off date. I’ve never enjoyed a school term more.

But I’ve found these school holidays difficult. I’ve never felt so torn between the urge to write, and wanting to be a fun and relaxed member of the family – happy to do ‘stuff’.

I’ve been a touch grumpy. Okay, at times a little more than just a ‘touch’. I’ve been a tad resentful at the TV noise drifting into my writing space through the closed door. Nebulous thoughts are difficult to catch once that door is opened by someone seeking an answer to the obvious…

I’m pretty sure I swore under my breath at the materialisation of bread crumbs and scatterings of dried two-minute noodles near the kettle each time I broke for a cuppa. But worst of all was the feeling of guilt over spending time in front of the computer, while simultaneously doing everything in my power to keep the kids off theirs.

Eventually I gave up and spent a few days in the garden – long overdue anyway, and I’ll be grateful in a few months when the bed of giant sunflowers I planted is in full bloom. Family bike rides have been enjoyable, as were the celebrations for my daughter’s birthday.

And now that I’ve managed to carve out a few midnight hours to write, I feel calmer. Hopefully this doesn’t become a habit – I’m a woman who likes her sleep – but at least those quiet hours are there if, and when, I need them.

my office writing space

My writing space. Note: photo indicates my preferred writing conditions – daylight, neatness, solitude …

 

20 thoughts on “Middle of the Night Writings

  1. Wow, that’s a lot of “neatness”! Nothing in my life is neat…it is clean, though. It doesn’t matter now, but since I can, let me just say that someday you’ll have time! Here I am wishing my daughter was here to interrupt me! Life’s funny. In the meantime, middle of the night works! Sometimes that’s when I get my best ideas. And, heh, congratulations on that submission. Are you really “emerging”…seems to me you’ve already emerged!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Michele. It’s rare my desk looks that neat (I often share it with my daughter, and at times it’s been covered in glitter, or nail polish paraphernalia 😆). I was surprised to come across that photo last night when I was looking for something to add to the post.
      I hear you on having more time to write in the future, and possibly longing for the days I’m moaning about now! If only we could have it all!
      Thank you for the congratulations on my writing submission 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll be more receptive to my middle-of-the-night muse in future, now that I’ve experienced the benefits! It was much more productive than laying awake with all those thoughts rolling around.
      The crumbs around the kettle will disappear when the kids are back at school next week, so I should be able to hang in there for a few more days.
      Thanks for stopping by, Carmel.

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  2. I completely understand that push-pull of family versus writing. (Though I love my sleep way too much to get up in the middle of the night!)
    What a lovely writing space you have – looks so inviting for producing wonderful prose 🙂
    Best of luck with your Richell Prize entry! x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your good luck wishes, Fiona. My fingers are crossed. It would be wonderful to see my name make the cut, but if not, I’ll just keep writing.
      I’ve a feeling I might become a night-writing convert though, with an afternoon cat nap to get me through… xx

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  3. You have the gift of perfectly articulating the guilt of stepping out of our everyday into the world we create. Balance can be so hard during holidays, it’s amazing how much we crave the routine of school terms despite the holidays being a well needed and deserved break. I must admit I’ve really enjoyed that time just after Jude goes to bed these holidays where I’ve still got an ounce of energy left to write. Sometimes it’s for 1/2 hr, sometimes 2 hrs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s such a lovely post! Thank you for sharing and congratulations on the Richell Prize submission! You are amazing even for your desire to write right now, let alone actually doing it!
    After I submitted to the Richell Prize, I suddenly felt so tired, but was still forcing myself to keep on going, until I fell sick. I think my body tried to show me that I needed rest 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Congratulations to you too, Daria Lee on submitting an entry to the Richell Prize. Good luck with your entry!
      After entering the Richell Prize last year, I lost the desire to write for quite a while. I had forced my story into somewhere it didn’t want to go, and it just felt wrong. This year, I’m so much more confident with where I’m at with both the story, and my writing, and that’s made all the difference.
      Rest is so important for writers – I never suspected that the process of writing could be so tiring, until I experienced it. I hope you’re feeling recharged and ready to write again.
      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my post 😊

      Like

      • Thank you! 🙂
        Oh wow, you are doing it two years in a row! You are my hero! Did you enter the same manuscript or a different story? Hope it’s okay that I ask, it might be a bit too personal.

        You know, I feel like taking around two weeks off writing and using that time to update my blog. I haven’t posted in a looong time.

        And it’s my pleasure! Yours is one of the few blogs I follow 😌

        Liked by 1 person

      • This year’s entry is based on the same manuscript I entered last year, but the story has changed so much, it’s virtually a new story.
        I’ve woven some of the original scenes into later parts of the ‘new’ novel, but even then, I’ve drastically changed them.
        The first three chapters for this year’s submission didn’t even exist last year, but came about from a ‘freefall’ writing workshop I did last November. I had this ‘vision’ from nowhere, and the new version took on a life of its own.
        Whether it’s a ‘life’ the judges are interested in is a whole different matter 😆
        I look forward to reading your next blog post, and I’m chuffed your following mine 😘

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      • That’s dedication. I hear so often about writers who have to pretty much start writing the same novel from scratch. The amount of work that’s been put in a single novel I never knew about until I started writing myself.

        Thank you so much for your support! And I love reading your blog too!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I didn’t know who much time and work went into writing a novel before I started, either! I’m glad I didn’t, but I think so much of the first one is learning how to actually do it. Hopefully the next ones will get easier (and faster) to write 😊

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    • Hi Sandy.
      I’m envious of your ability to write under all conditions. I’m getting better at certain things – like writing surrounded by mess (it’s rare my desk is that tidy – I must have tidied it to take that photo ages ago), but the interruptions are the hardest to deal with.
      I hope you got a good chunk of middle of the night writing done! Thanks for taking the time to read and leave a comment 😊

      Like

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