Second Sleep

It’s time for my second sleep.

I’ve been awake since 3:30 in the morning. It was a dream that woke me... a dream that came with a wonderful new idea. So I sat up in bed, opened my great, big, idea book... and began to write...

We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep ~ The Tempest, William Shakespeare

I love early mornings. It is the perfect time for writing. The rest of the world is sleeping... As dawn breaks I’ll walk down to the sea... and watch the world come to life again...

I’ve come to accept the ebb and flow of my sleep. Like the tide it seems to rise and fall with the moon cycle... And I make the most of it. Some days it is high tide and waves of tiredness flow over me... I let myself be carried out to sea to drift on the ocean of my dreams...

Other times the tide is low and sleep just laps at my ankles... I am awake, alert, active... that’s when ideas rouse me from my slumber and demand to be written down. So I go with the flow...

It’s 10:00 am and I’ve already had a full day.

A person who has not done one half his day's work by ten o'clock, runs a chance of leaving the other half undone. 
~ Emily Bronte

Now it’s time for my second sleep...


Being an Open Channel

In Julia Cameron's book 'The Right to Write' she says, "In a sense, our creativity is none of our business. It is a given, not something to be aspired to. It is a natural function of the soul." One of her tools in the book is what she calls guided writing or "channeled writing". We need to step aside and let the "Great Creator" work through us. It's about setting paintbrush to canvas, or pen to paper, and becoming an open channel to the flow of creativity.

So how do we do that? How do we tap into that flow? You can start by simply writing down every idea that comes into your head. I keep a journal at my bedside so I can write down my thoughts as they come to me. This is where I write my morning pages. I also keep an idea book with me always. I never know when an idea will strike. Sometimes I have to pull over in my car to write something down. (I use traffic jams to my advantage!).

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of 'Eat, Pray, Love', gave a great TED talk on how we can nurture our creativity. She said in ancient Greece and Rome people believed that creativity was this divine spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source. I love how she describes American Ruth Stone's experience of "writing" a poem - she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape and would "run like hell" from the fields where she was working, to get to her house so she could write it down before it rumbled on past her like a thunderstorm...

So keep an idea book beside you and when you suddenly find yourself wide awake from some brilliant idea that came to you in a dream, you can capture it onto the page. And when you are at a red light or stuck in traffic, you can use it to your advantage... Ideas have a way of disappearing as fast as they come. Once you begin to write everything down, you'll be amazed at how the ideas begin to flow. It opens the channel.

To quote Julia Cameron again, "Writing is about getting something down, not about thinking something up."