I woke last night with a half formed idea for a blog in my head. Something about rejection and happy thoughts and yet acknowledging it was tough yada yada.
I tossed and turned and mumbled about it, then went back to sleep, a smile on my lips, certain I had a nice post for this morning. But when I woke up the idea that had seemed so good at whatever-o-clock in the night now felt kind of silly. And the thoughts that had held it together and made it seem workable were breaking apart, like tatters of silk in the wind.
A friend once said to me ‘Go to sleep on a question, wake with an answer.’ This is actually a pretty good way to address things sometimes – it’s certainly worked for me with several character issues I’ve had. One character, who I had written as quite awful, had been whispering in my ear, insisting he wasn’t that bad, that he had reasons to be the way he was. And he was right.
But then how could I justify him doing ‘the very bad thing’ he needed to do in order for the plot to turn out the way it did? For there was no way around that – I’d thought on it for weeks and there was no other option. So I went to sleep, keeping the idea in my head, and when I woke the answer was there. I suppose you could say this is a form of mindfulness, of targeted thinking with a desired result, and so that’s why it worked.
The tatters and rag-tag ends of ideas that come to us, unbidden, in the night are quite different. Some of them are excellent and worth keeping, while others, like my post, are not. I have on occasion woke with fully formed sentences wanting to be written down, or characters insisting to speak. But for the most part they are things like this classic Tumblr post, which always makes me laugh.
So how about you? Have you had an amazing idea for a story arrive in the middle of the night? I do confess I keep a notebook next to my bed, just in case inspiration strikes. But for the most part it is rag-ends and bobtails, disappearing like mist as the sun rises.