Wednesday, January 06, 2016

When Losing Sleep Is Worth It

In the past month, I've had an incredibly hard time with one scene of my novel. I'd tackled it from several different angles and nothing worked. It was a pivotal scene, and I couldn't delete it. I had to write it.

I figured with my 10 days off over the holidays, I'd have a chance to really work through the block and get back on track. But that didn't happen. I kept fighting it, like a fisherman battling the stubborn fish he's hooked.

All too soon, Sunday night came, and with it the end of my vacation. Monday loomed in front of me, and I was completely disgusted with my inability to crack that scene. In fact, the entire novel felt close to slipping from my grasp. Was my idea bad? Had I lost the threads of my story? Was I out of touch with my characters?

I pushed the dark thoughts aside and decided to watch the first episode of Season 6 of Downton Abbey, then go to bed. But as so often happens when I watch incredible period dramas (like Downton Abbey, Foyle's War, and Poldark), my creativity bursts open and suddenly, the difficult becomes possible.

It was around 10 p.m., my bedtime, and I was still on a high after watching Downton Abbey. I thought, maybe, just maybe, I could make the scene work. So, I opened up the laptop and got to work. And this clicked.

I happily wrote for the next hour and a half, and had a hard time sleeping because I was so giddy with relief.

This, of course, meant a very long day at work on Monday. I had the double whammy of going back to the day job after a long vacation plus not nearly enough hours of sleep. Combined, it almost took me out. But I persevered.

Was it worth it?

You bet it was.

Never give up.


  1. Love this!! Historical films can be so inspiring! Glad you're back at it! =)

    1. Thanks, Emily! :) I'm definitely glad I broke through that stubborn block.

  2. Yay! I can sooooo relate to this. The stuck, the sudden forward charge, and the giddiness afterwards! (Also, the work day that follows...) I recently did something similar, was just plain stuck on a scene for like a blooming month, just couldn't figure out one little piece that was the missing key to make it work.

    1. Also, my sister gave me the Poldark series on DVD for Christmas! Yay! I'm so looking forward to watch it!

    2. Oh, you are going to LOVE Poldark!!! I cannot wait for Season 2 (which they are filming now).

      It's amazing to me how that one little piece can make or break a scene, isn't it?

  3. I LOVE when that happens but why does it always have to happen at bedtime? I thought Downton was fabulous and cannot wait for the return of Poldark. Keep moving forward!

    1. Thanks, Doreen! Yes, why does it always happen at bedtime? I think I am most creative in the evenings, which doesn't help when I have to work 8-5! :)

      Oh, is so, so good.


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