Want to become a night writer? Does the idea of writing when everyone else is entertaining themselves to death in front of televisions or falling asleep in beds while glued to their smart phone or iPad screens appeal to you? Would you like to write without feeling like there are other things that you should be doing, without feeling like the day is getting away from you as you slave away on some story that will never be read? Does writing when everything around you is dark and silent and going to sleep sound like the ideal conditions for writing?
If so, I have no idea how to help you do this. For the past several weeks I have been disciplined about writing at night but so far everything I have written after 7pm has been an absolute failure. I am not certain why my writing is so bad after the hour of 7pm (or even 6pm) but I have a few ideas, which I would like to share with you.
First, I would just like to say that I got the idea for becoming a night writer after I listened to the writer Jarett Kobek (the author of brilliant novels such as ATTA and I Hate The Internet) speak about the benefits of writing at night. When I heard him I thought: Maybe this is why my writing career has been a failure? Maybe I have the timing all wrong? Maybe if I wrote at night instead of mornings my writing career would start going better? Maybe I could actually finish writing a novel? I decided to give night writing a try. So far, this try has been a disaster, a failed experiment.
I just can’t write at night. I continually fall asleep. Once I wake myself back up again and start writing, my words are just a blur on the screen. I mean what the hell kind of writer who is any good, falls asleep while writing? This is unacceptable. I am not falling asleep because I am bored with what I am writing (well, maybe a bit bored). I am falling asleep because after ten or twenty minutes of writing at night my eyelids feel as if they have been stuffed with heavy bags of sand. I regret not asking Jarett Kobek how he does it. How does he keep himself awake at night? Does he drink coffee or green tea? Does he take amphetamines? Does he smoke stimulating marijuana with lots of THC? Does he wake up really late in the day? How the hell does he do it? This is what I want to know. What’s the secret?
I don’t want to ingest any stimulates after 3pm. If I do I know I will encounter a restless nights sleep. If I don’t sleep well, my entire life suffers. I can’t smoke weed without freaking out, so this is out of the question. I have tried eating sweet grapes and pineapple, drinking a large glass of orange juice, eating a large bowl of frozen yogurt, all in an effort to use the natural sugars to keep myself awake while night writing. But this has failed. Natural sugars from fruit and dairy assists my digestion while gradually putting me to sleep. I don’t eat artificial sugars, so no Snicker bars for me. Falling asleep while writing is a major problem that I do not know how to fix.
Normally (when not kept up late by a good film or unexpected sexual experiences), I wake up early in the morning. I will meditate for 45 minutes and then make coffee. After I have my mug filled with coffee, I will take it to my writing desk and start typing away by 7:45am at the latest. But I do not enjoy writing in the morning. It is no fun to be sitting in a dark room with a desk light on while the morning sun shines bright outside. I would rather be reading out in my sun filled garden or at the local cafe. I would rather be on a long walk. Anything but writing, even though I write anyways. Maybe this is why my writing career is not working out? I am writing at the wrong time. But if I want to be a night writer, I must go to bed later and wake up later. This is a fact. I can not wake up at 6am and expect to not feel tired while writing at night. It is just not logical for a 44-year-old man to keep himself awake this long.
I can’t stay up past 10pm. I have tried but my capacity for staying up late seems like something I lost along with my youth. The past two weeks I have tried to force myself to stay up past 10pm. Even though I am too tired to write, I listen to records, I paint, I do yoga, I watch erotic French films, I eat a large bowl of red grapes, anything to keep myself up. But I fail every time. Once the clock hits 10pm, all I want is to be falling asleep in my tempurpedic bed with my arms wrapped around my non-tempurpedic wife. In the mornings when my eyes open at 6am, I try to force myself to stay asleep longer. I do breathing exercises, I put lavender oil under my nose, I wrap my body up against my wife’s body, which is still sound asleep. I put my hand on my wife’s breast in order to feel more relaxed. I do everything that I can to stay asleep, but by 6:30am I have to get out of bed. I can’t take it anymore.
I do not know what to do. I have no clue about how to become a night writer. I know that night writing is an excellent idea. The absence of the sun, the silence all around, the disappearance of all people and distractions and the darkness outside are all ideal conditions for any writer. But this falling asleep while writing thing is really getting in the way of what could otherwise be a brilliant writing career. A tired writer does the world no favors.
And then there is the issue of my sex life. I am sorry to have to talk about this but I presume it is something fundamental that any night writer must confront. Like most married couples, sex time is usually nighttime. Having sex during the day is something for young people and for those who are at the very beginning stages of their sexual relationship. Sex is like an elevator going up, the more you have it with the same person the more it moves up towards the later hours of the evening (eventually I presume it arrives at the top floor where no one is getting off). If I am writing at night, when will I ever have sex with my wife? It wont happen during the day, I can tell you that for certain. I am just not the morning or daytime sex kind of guy. If it is not at night, it will be never, so I am not sure what to do. Literature is important to me. Probably the most important thing (besides the health of my wife, my dogs and myself). But I am not so certain that at the age of 44 I am ready to sacrifice my sex life for my writing career.
How to become a night writer? How about you tell me? Once you figure it out or if you have figured it out let me know, because I am getting nowhere with this night writing business. On second thought, please keep your ideas to yourself. I don’t care. If I can’t figure this out on my own, I would rather not figure it out at all. This is just the kind of person I am. I will keep writing at night. I’m not giving up just yet. Maybe writing at night is a muscle that a writer needs to develop over time. Like any developing muscle, the beginning stages are always the worst. Maybe if I stick with it, my eyelids will gradually lighten up, and I will be able to write for longer periods of time without sleep interrupting some great idea. Maybe I will figure out how to make quick trips into my house for some brief sex time with my wife and then return to my writing desk when all is done. I doubt this, since I become very sleepy after sex, but it is worth striving for. It is worth trying because a writing career is still important to me (even though I try and let the dream go). If I figure it out, then I will be able to let you know how to become a night writer. For now, I have no idea.
Time for bed.
*If you came across any grammar errors, my apologies. I really should not be writing at night.