As a husband and father with a mortgage, auto loan, and a cat that eats far more than it should (we're getting worried), I am strapped for time. I've always kept my creative pursuits in the realm of hobby, and therefore operate a forklift for a living. At least for now. I'm starting to take my artwork more seriously with each passing year, but in the meantime, it's tough. Balancing my responsibilities with my creativity is a high-wire act that I'm always struggling to maintain.
The answer? Well, so far it's been coffee. I drink it by the pot. I would pay a king's ransom to have a faucet that pours a constant stream of piping hot Sumatran Dark Roast at all hours of the day. You see, my main window for creative writing comes between 12 and 3am each night. The family is asleep. The house is quiet. It's just me, one last cup of joe (literally against my doctor's orders), some Chad Lawson on the piano, and my word processor. Like an owl, a bat, or underpaid road commission worker, I do my best work while the world around me sleeps.
But I think there may be a deeper reason behind this magical window of creativity.
For years, 11pm has been my bedtime. Now, I'm pushing well past that, and not sleeping in much later than usual. I don't feel particularly sleep deprived, and the answer may lie in my creative process. I'm a very visual writer. I watch the events unfold in my mind and do my best to write what I'm seeing, like a reporter. In a sense, my writing is like a dream journal. For years, I trained my brain to treat midnight as the time to relax and turn things over to the imagination. I'm still doing that, only I'm keeping the lights on in a few extra rooms of my mind. My fingers clatter away on the keyboard. My eyes stare blankly at the monitor. My body is still, but my imagination is working full tilt. I'm dreaming, only a bit more lucidly and a bit more observantly than before.
I am the night writer.