Wednesday, January 27, 2010
And why would I be happy about that, you ask?
I once wrote a blog post about the link between insomnia and creativity. I had read about the work of Eluned Summers-Bremner, English professor and cultural historian at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, who wrote a book called Insomnia: A Cultural History. She believes there is a link between insomnia and creativity. A lot of poets and writers believe this, too. Many great artists and thinkers (Franklin, Edison, Wordsworth, Proust) were insomniacs.
At that time, I was going through an awful time with insomnia. I didn’t have trouble falling asleep, but I had trouble staying asleep for some reason. I’d wake up after a couple of hours and be wide awake. It is so frustrating to lay there awake when you know the alarm is going to go off in a few hours, when you know you have to get up and go to work and be somewhat functional and productive. And yet the harder you try to sleep, the more it eludes you.
However…I did come up with some great story ideas while laying there in the dark! My mind gets going and my characters become fully developed with back story and I get all these cool plot ideas…my writing at the time was incredibly prolific!
Of course, when my mind starts going on story ideas, sleep recedes even further away. I was a walking zombie during the day but I was writing like crazy. It made me wonder: does my insomnia result in creativity? Or is my creativity causing my insomnia?
Then recently my sleep improved. And my creativity seemed to dry up and my writing became slow and painful.
Ms Summers-Bremner doesn’t think insomnia causes the creativity, but because some people think it does, they don’t want to give up their insomnia. And I think I’m coming to the conclusion that I don’t want to give it up either. Much as I hate dragging myself out of bed in the morning feeling like a bag of dog doodoo, knowing I came up with three great story ideas and I need to write them down ASAP gives me a little boost. So I’m going to embrace my sleeplessness.
What do you think? Does insomnia result in creativity? Or does the creativity cause the insomnia?