I want to be good at a lot of things. I want to be a good husband. I want to be a good father. I want to be a good friend, worker, and man. I also want to be a good writer.
These areas of my life pull me back and forth like a current and are simultaneously in conflict with each other. To be a good husband I have to let someone else be a father to my kids for a few hours while I go out and romance my wife. If I want to be a good worker I have to leave my wife to go to work and sometimes stay at the office a little later than planned. To be a good man I have to be sane and with two kids and one due any day – it can be a struggle.
When writing invaded my life, I told my wife I would never allow it to become something that would take away time from her or my kids. I am not going to come home and then leave for six hours to get a chapter out.
I began to realize that something had to go.
That something was sleep.
Sleep and I have had an interesting relationship over the last few years. Yes, I realize that you need it. I acknowledge it as I slam another cup of coffee. I toy with it and lay down for twenty minutes in the middle of the day. But, our relationship has been rocky at best and though I crave it nearly every second of the day I do whatever I can to fight it off.
Why you ask? Why do I torture myself like this? I already said I wanted to be a writer didn’t I?
As my family grew I began to understand that twenty four hours is not actually a lot of time. In fact I think it is a joke sometimes. Really? It’s 10:30! Come on clock, you’re kidding right? But alas, no, it is not.
Great writing takes time. I once evaluated how many hours I wrote one week and it was not enough to fulfill my writing aspirations. I knew I needed a schedule. Using an excel spreadsheet I evaluated how I spent every single hour each day. When I was finished there was no time left, other than sleep. That is all I have to sacrifice.
So, I plan to get up at 5am every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This will be tough especially when a newborn enters our family in the next few days.
I want to be a great writer. I want to produce short stories, novels, blogs, and articles. These all take time. By sacrificing sleep I might have enough time to accomplish it all. After all, if this is the life I want I should be living it now. Its time I started to act like it.
Do you struggle to find time to write? What sacrifices have you made or are you willing to make?
5 thoughts on “On Sacrificing Sleep”
Truer words have not been written. Cheers to your priorities! Thanks for being a great husband, father, and man before being a great writer (although you are that too). As for sleep, we can sleep when we’re dead, right?
Correct. Although not sleeping can kill you, so there is a limit. I should have put something in here about making sure you get SOME sleep. Now I have.
Reblogged this on Jot: The GR Writers Mini-Conference and commented:
Great thoughts on the writing life from Jotter, Bob Evenhouse.
Here are a couple time makers (as I’ve never been able to survive without sleep):
Tell your story to your children — record it or take notes on it. Younger children especially will like the time with Dad and any crazy voices you can add.
Keep a notebook with you–always save those ideas so you’re ready for writing time.
Print the parts you’ve already finished–use down time like traffic jams to edit. (Only read while you are completely stopped!)
Never end a writing session without marking how you will begin the next time.
Great writing tips Daniel! Keep them coming.