Photo credit: WarmSleepy via Foter.com / CC BY

A to Z Challenge: Z is for Zzzz’s and Catching Some When You’re a Writer

Photo credit: niko.chan via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND
Photo credit: niko.chan via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

ZIdeas running through your head at all hours of the day. Frantically searching for a pen and paper to write them down for fear they’ll be forgotten. Worrying you aren’t making enough progress on achieving your goals. Getting up an hour early just so you have that extra time to work on more stuff: social media, blog, book, and the list goes on.

When you decide to be a writer, the first thing you do is write. You listen to your mind and watch as the words pour through your fingers, dancing across the keyboard as they are added to the screen. It is exhilarating to see your page count, or even your word count, creeping up.

There are nights where you just have to get a scene out of your mind because, as with any idea that you have while you are out shopping at the grocery store, you have to get it down or you may forget the direction you were wanting your character to go.

Photo credit: Ray_from_LA via Foter.com / CC BY
Photo credit: Ray_from_LA via Foter.com / CC BY

Through this feverish rush that overtakes you, there is one thing that often gets in the way: sleep.

Sleep can be a wonderful thing. I love sleep. In fact, I still take naps when the chance arises. You’re never to old!

When you’re working on a new manuscript, however, sleep can so often get in the way of your creative mind. It breaks up your flow wherever you are in the book. It stops you from writing more. For those 6-8 hours, or however long it is you sleep for, you are turning off your brain.

A way to write while sleeping still hasn’t been made available, though I’d be the first to test it out if it ever does!

Being a writer doesn’t just stop at writing. One element I wish I’d known about sooner is the need to have a platform established on social media. This becomes even more important if you are writing non-fiction. You need to be able to prove that you are an expert in whatever it is you’re doing. By having an avid following on social media, you prove to potential agents and publishers that you have a voice people want to listen to.

Photo credit: Jason A. Howie via Foter.com / CC BY
Photo credit: Jason A. Howie via Foter.com / CC BY

As an added bonus, through your social media platform, you will be able to promote your book to all of your followers across your many sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google Plus, Goodreads, etc.). They will listen because they love hearing from you and will be excited to know that your book if finally available for them to buy.

Social media.

Now, not only do you need to write the book, edit until your words begin to blur, and look for representation to get your book into the world (if you are going the traditional route), you also need to build a platform? When I read this in one of my many becoming-a-writer reference books, my initial reaction was panic.

Knowing that I plan to write non-fiction amigurumi books of patterns in the future, I knew that I should have been on social media years ago building my group of followers.

I decided there was no time like the present. If it was something that important to me—and it was—I would get on social media now and work that much more to build the fans I needed. In the meantime, I would continue working on my other writing projects (which included crafting up the characters for the amigurumi books), so that I would have the time to gain enough followers to prove I’m an expert in the field of crochet.

Photo credit: gfpeck via Foter.com / CC BY-ND
Photo credit: gfpeck via Foter.com / CC BY-ND

All of this rush to get on social media (you can visit any of my social media pages by following the links on the side bar on the left), added to the lack of sleep. There have been nights where I look at the clock and it is nearly one o’clock in the morning and I need to get up at six. Burning the candle at both ends as they say.

Here are the questions I started asking myself:

  • Am I getting more work done this way?
    Yes.
  • Has my social media been doing well since I really started working on it last November for NanoWriMo?
    Yes.
  • Am I pleased with the progress I’ve made in my other creative outlets: crochet, illustration, crafting, etc?
    I’m getting there, though I’d like to spend even more time on these as well.
  • Am I tired all the time?
    Yes.
  • Has that tiredness affected how I feel about what I’m working on?
    Yes. I can sometimes get overwhelmed with it all.

Those feelings of being overwhelmed aren’t healthy. If you are feeling the same way because you are pushing yourself too hard or not sleeping enough to achieve your goal let me leave you with one final thought:

“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” as they said in 1190 in medieval French.

Photo Credit: J.H. Winter
Photo Credit: J.H. Winter

Creativity takes time. Writing takes time. Social media takes time. Just know that that’s the case and move on. Spend the moments you can working on your various projects. Find stopping points for sleep. If they come a little sooner than you would have liked, that’s okay. If it’s close to bedtime, don’t start the next chapter of your book until the following morning. There are only so many hours in the day to rest.

We need sleep. It will make you a better writer, and person to be around, when you get it. My husband can attest, a happy wife is a well-rested wife. Hysteria can dig in its claws much more easily if you on working on lack of sleep. You will begin to make mistakes. Other aspects of your life (family, friendships, etc.) will begin to suffer.

Being a writer is an amazing thing. Being a writer who can keep their eyes open while having a conversation is even better.

That’s it for the A to Z Challenge! Thanks to all who have followed me throughout the month. I hope you subscribe to my newsletter to continue keeping in touch and learning of my new posts.

The giveaway for the crocheted amigurumi dog has also ended and the winner chosen: Daniel S. Congratulations! Your prize is on its way!

Photo credit: WarmSleepy via Foter.com / CC BY
Photo credit: WarmSleepy via Foter.com / CC BY

14 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: Z is for Zzzz’s and Catching Some When You’re a Writer”

  1. This is so true, and a good reminder to take care of ourselves! As someone who needs loots of sleep, I know that sleep is so important. If you’re sleep-deprived it can definitely affect how you think and your ability to create. Sometimes we have to prioritize our rest, and let the creativity flow the next day.

  2. I wouldn’t say that I push myself too hard, but I am tired a lot. I think being on the computer for long periods contributes somewhat to my being tired. I take a nap almost every afternoon for about 20 minutes, but on weekends my nap can be more like 1-2 hours. Especially if my wife is napping too. Sometimes I’ve seen her take a nap and essentially sleep until the next morning. I can’t do that.

    Congratulations on making it to the end of the A to Z Challenge. Well done!

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    1. My naps would never last only 20 minutes. I need at least an hour on the low end. :) Thank you for keeping up with me during the challenge. I hope to see you back each week!

  3. Your blog has been an inspiration and a great read. Congratulations on completing the challenge. Now, I think we all could use a few extra Zzz’s. It has been a pleasure making your acquaintance.

    1. Likewise, Sheila. I have enjoyed everything you’ve posted on your blog so far, and look forward to reading more of your posts in the future :)

  4. I’m the type of writer who needs her sleep to write well. Once I start getting tired, the words slow down and often stop. And I agree, naps are great and I still take them. =)

    Congrats on beating the challenge.

    1. Thank you, Patricia! I was trying to get up at 5am every morning and did for awhile, but have been having difficulty maintaining that since I don’t get to bed until 11:30pm most nights. 6am will work out just as well. :)

  5. I had a great time reading your blog all through April. I have been planning to write (as in write a story or something like that), but have been procrastinating as well. Your blog inspires me. I hope I take this inspiration and finally get down to writing more.
    @bhawnasaini_yml from Yellow Mellow Life

    1. That would be amazing! I never thought I could be a writer. It took one good idea and time to sit down to get it on paper, for me to realize that’s exactly what I am. :) Good luck in your writing endeavors! I’m so glad you enjoyed my posts throughout the month. It was wonderful to keep seeing you coming back and commenting! Looking forward to reading your future posts as well.

  6. I am guilty of skipping sleep and it’s not a good thing. I often get so wrapped up in whatever creative project I am working on that I don’t want to stop. But, I agree that I function much better when I get my sleep. Good advice in your post.

    1. Thank you, Karen. It seems like such an easy concept, but it is the first thing that we look to sacrifice when we need to get more work done. If the lack of sleep is for a short duration to finish a project, I can see it, but if it has no end, I think it is better to get the sleep than to give it up. Thanks for keeping up with my posts throughout the challenge. I hope to keep seeing you back each week!

  7. Sleep is so important isn’t it? We become shadows of our real selves when we are denied our quota. Blessings Joy PS Congratulations on finishing the AtoZChallenge

    1. Thank you so much, Joy! I was getting up at 5am in order to get an extra hour of work in before my son woke up for the day, but since I can’t seem to get myself into bed earlier at night, all I was really doing was cutting out my sleep and that wasn’t helping me at all. Zombies come to mind 😉

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