For many years I have awakened around 2 a.m. in the morning. Without an alarm clock, I must add. By instinct, my mind jostles me awake, and I find ideas greeting me when the world outside is dark and silent. This is an incredibly productive time for me.
On the days when I’ve overslept past 6 a.m., which is rare, it is like I have missed something major. The rest of my day doesn’t flow easily. Of course, I learned during my Freshman year of college at Berea that I couldn’t sleep late into the day. I recall one Saturday when I chose to sleep until nearly noon. I was miserable for the rest of the day. My mind was fogged, and regardless of what activities I chose to do, the day was an overall loss. I never slept late again.
Two o’clock in the morning is a sheltered time. No interruptions, the quietness, and being surrounded by darkness are motivating factors for me. I’m not certain why, but these vampiric hours prompt me and often allow me to produce my best work. A lot of what I write has a dark twist to it, so writing during the dead of night seems appropriate. But another element triggered my mind to awaken well ahead of the alarm.
Many, many years ago, I begged my parents for one of those wind-up alarm clocks for Christmas. Some of you probably remember those. When the alarm goes off, two bells are struck repeatedly by a metal clapper, making a horrendously loud clanging sound. Surprisingly, that Christmas my parents actually bought one for me. I was thrilled and right before I went to sleep, I excitedly set the alarm.
When morning came, the alarm jarred me awake, making me fully understand why they are called ‘alarm’ clocks. I levitated out of bed. The harsh clangs were so unexpected that I was fully awake in an instant and scrambled out of bed to turn the blasted thing off. My heart raced, and I plopped back onto the bed, still shaken. Good adrenaline rush, I suppose.
Needless to say, the alarm clock never awakened me again. Ever. Oh, I set it, but my mind awakened me about five minutes before it was set to go off every morning. No more being jarred awake.
Believe me, being awakened by a creative muse is far better than any alarm. So while the majority of you sleep, my creativity is fueled by characters trapped in an unfolding story. And caffeine. Yes, caffeine is a necessity.