Tuesday, March 5, 2013

When Inspiration Strikes

I was in bed fast asleep last night when I woke up to the most awful screeching in my walls. At 4am. It sounded like a horde (a pack? a den?) of demon rats were being boiled alive in a witch's cauldron.

"Demon rat stew goes really well with angel hair pasta. Mmm-mm!"

When you're startled out of sleep by such an unnatural sound, it takes a liittle bit of time to get yourself together. I checked my phone, my clock, under my pillow, trying to pinpoint the source of the noise. I even had the strange idea that a gate to Hellfire had opened under my house (the sinkhole story on the news didn't help things) and my sweet, short life on this earth had come to an end.

Once I realized that I wasn't going to be dragged off into another dimension, I immediately went to the most trusted source of information to help me identify the noise.

Naturally "screaming in my walls" turned up results I didn't expect. Mostly Taylor Swift songs. I did learn something interesting though (at 4:30am, no less):

Hypnagogic hallucinations are hallucinations which occur at the boundary between sleeping and waking. They can occur when people are falling asleep, or when they are starting to wake up, and they tend to be extremely vivid, feeling like a Technicolor Oz after the black and white Kansas of every day life. Many people experience hypnagogic hallucinations at some point during their lives, but recurrent intense hallucinations can be a sign of an underlying medical condition which may require treatment.

I...did not know that.

Frustrated with the lack of relevant information, and too sleepy to fight with screeching animals in the middle of the night, I snuggled up under my blanket and closed my eyes.

Then I had one of those random flashes of inspiration. I'd been stuck on a plot for one of my stories for the longest time. But I figured it out right then.While lying half-asleep in bed.

On the one hand, I knew I had to get up and grab my laptop and jot it down quickly before I lost it.
On the other hand, sleep felt so good.

And then my brain interjected ever so confidently, reassuring me that this idea was too awesome and mind-blowing to be forgotten when morning came around. (I should know by now never to trust my brain, especially at such an early hour).

"Chill, girl, I got this. Have I ever let you down?"

Needless to say, the idea was long gone by morning. I'm sure I'll come up with something new, or maybe I'll remember it again someday, but the lesson behind this insanely confusing/frightening experience is:
  1. If you hear screams inside your walls, don't panic. The animal making the sound is ten times smaller than you and you could probably take it. Probably.
  2. If you come up with any ideas for your project, write them down immediately. Your brain has about a hundred other things it's got to juggle, so don't leave things to chance.
  3. The exception to this rule is if you're driving or if you work at a job where breaks aren't possible. Like if you're rescuing someone from a burning house. Then again, if you're part fireman, part writer, you probably have enough inspiration as is.
Super Fire Writer: Punching fires by day. Defaming them on paper by night.


  1. I've done this so many times! You'd think we'd learn our lesson. But sleep is sooooo tempting... In any case, I hope it comes back to you, hopefully NOT as you're trying to sleep!

    1. Oh yes, it's like all the best ideas choose to come when you least expect them. Thanks for sharing, Vanessa!

  2. You ALWAYS write when inspiration strikes. Fight the sleep and keep a notebook next to your bed. You'll thank yourself in the morning :P

  3. Well, You could always jot it down on your phone as drafts(if you don't have a specific note app) and edit it properly on your Laptop whenever you get the time