Sleep-deprived Euphoria – by Stella Cormier


Much like a lot of my writer friends, I have a persistent case of insomnia. For some reason, whenever I try and sleep, thoughts of my writings pound in my head, threatening to disappear it I do not get up and write them out “this instant” (persistent little shits).

Recently I bought together the setting for a story I’ve been sitting on for close to six years, and I’ve finally begun to write it. With the setting finished, that characters and their backstories all came together, and in the span of a week, I had the timeline almost all planned out. This too, contributes to my sleeplessness as I live half-in, half-out of my sci-fi realm, playing the game where I think “If I go to sleep right now, I can get 4 hours, 37 minutes and 22 seconds of sleep,” despite knowing that I’m not going to sleep until I finish this chapter. And maybe the next.

There’s something about this sleepless stress that brings me comfort. A certain euphoria that arises from exhaustion as I’m forced to write out as many of my thoughts and ideas as fast as I can before sleep finally takes hold. Especially after a “slump,” it can help to reassure me that I can indeed write (something that I question fairly regularly), and I’ll have the dark circles under my eyes to prove it. Even now as I write this, I glace at my computer dock with 16 documents open and in progress (my poor computer barely keeping up as my hummingbird brain as it sputters and struggles to show what I’m typing taking pauses and then adding 50 words all at once), and I’m satisfied. Though his too is mixed in as I jump back and forth writing down my ideas as fast and my brain can come up with them, hearing my own voice on a page also serves as a reassurance that I can do this. Having written in so many character voices, I became almost a surrogate for them, trying to get my own thoughts and feelings in between theirs. So even though I sometimes struggle with this kind of writing, I feel validated after finishing a piece (even if it takes longer or is harder than I’d expect).