Friday, August 27, 2010

Endorphins and Writing

My husband's work keeps him on the road, away from home way too much of the time - which means there are too many nights when it's just me and my teddy bear trying to fall asleep. Some nights I toss and turn, worrying about things that are beyond my power to control. I've found I sleep best when I lie in bed and think about the book that's currently in progress.

I've heard that writers shouldn't do that, because either it keeps you awake all night or you forget any insights you had by the time you wake up in the morning. I don't find that's a problem for me. I keep my current WIP notebook within easy reach, and my teddy bear doesn't mind my turning on the light when inspiration strikes. As soon as a scene or an insight from my MC comes into focus, I'm sitting up in bed and writing it down, so it's safely preserved for my more wakeful writer persona of the next morning.

And here's my discovery: writing seems to be as good as making love when it comes to releasing hormones! Making good love releases endorphins that activate the body's opiate receptors - in other words, endorphins make you slide happily into sleep. So does tapping into your book's soul. As soon as I've written down my new insight and switched off the light, I slip happily into sleep and have a good night. Okay, being with my husband is even better for a loving night's sleep, but it doesn't increase my word count or my character insights.

Whichever option you have tonight, sweet dreams.

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