Thursday, February 3, 2011

Middle of the Night Inspiration

"I got to write these jokes. So, I sit at the hotel at night and I think of something that’s funny. Or, If the pen is too far away, I have to convince myself that what I thought of wasn’t funny." - Mitch Hedberg

I had a Mitch moment last night. It was about one a.m. and I had finally gotten comfortable in bed. Sometimes it can take me an hour to find just the right spot so I can relax then drift off to sleep. It was super chilly (I can hear Colene snort, Abby chortle and Melissa guffaw at that - see girls, I gave you all your own action!) and I was so toasty under the new flannel quilt Mom had made me. The alarm was set for 6am so I was already looking at a much shorter amount of sleep than I require to be coherent even WITH coffee in the mornings.

It hit me. That perfect transition. The solution to all my WIP problems. Okay, not all of them, but the one that is most vexing me at the moment. It was sheer brilliance (as it always seems at one in the morning). I wasn't willing to compromise my position, but not to worry - I keep a pen and paper handy next to the bed for just such moments.

I thrust my hand out quickly, stretching down as far as I could to the nightstand. Feeling my way around, I had my paper. I pulled that pad up and under the covers, then reached for the pen. No luck. Anywhere. I came up with two cough drops (yes, I even hide them under books so The Hubster doesn't know I'm sneaking them before I fall asleep), a paper clip and a bookmark. No pen.

Crap. I have to actually roll onto my side and peer down into the darkness. This didn't help either. It was entirely too dark to see what I was rummaging for. Not to worry, though, because I keep a flashlight right there (it's Cali, people, we're expecting the big one any day now...and have been for the last twenty years). Flip it on, shine it all around and find no pen.

Wednesday our Magical Cat? She loves her some pens. Hours of entertainment. I find them every time I move a couch, a chair, the bed to vacuum. Drat that little gray cat!

I roll back into my comfy position. The clock (which my sadistic monster-in-law bought for Christmas two years ago to torture me) shines it time on the ceiling: 1:15am. Oh, not even five hours of precious sleep now. If I get up, I know it won't stop at a simple scribbling. I'll trudge down the hallway, fire up the computer (since I'm up, might as well just get it on computer) and be there until the alarm goes off at 6am. Likely, everything from 2am on will be trash because my brain doesn't function at those times (well documented fact from my production days). So wasted sleep.

I try to reassure myself that I will remember the brilliance. This brings a soft laugh. My memory...well, let's just say that's why I keep a pad next to the bed, in my purse, in the car, in the kitchen, next to the couch. I remember Mitch's joke. I try to convince myself that what I came up with isn't brilliant at all. In fact, it's just not going to work. But it does work. Beautifully. Perfect, even.

I fought with myself for another fifteen minutes before sleep caught me and pulled me under. I slept so deeply that I didn't respond to the alarm. But guess what - I remembered it! Then I ran off to teach. No worries, I have a break coming up. I'll write it down then! Only the break never materialized because I had teachers asking me training questions, cat questions, etc. that held me up and made my day run together. I got home, ate lunch and fell into bed for a nap. Got lost on blogs for the afternoon.

Here it is 12:15am and I'm ready to crawl in for the night. I have no blog post. I still haven't written down that great idea. Mitch's quote hits me and I race to the computer to pound out this post! I've got the pad next to me and I'll write my brilliant idea down on the way to bed. If I can find a pen. Drat that little gray cat!

What about you - do you ever have Mitch moments? How motivated are you to chase that story? Will you get up in the middle of the night to write things down?


  1. I get my best thoughts just before sleep comes-- isn't that always the way? I'm the same, got to have my pad and paper nearby.

    Sometimes I don't bother with putting on my glasses and the words end up hovering over or drooping through the lines, but that is entirely beside the point. 99% of the time I'm willing to chase the idea down, even though once I do I end up flicking the light back on three minutes later to add to it and then an hour has passed.

    The night before last I didn't bother to write down that I needed to transfer money into a different account so my cheque wouldn't bounce though. How's that for priorities?
    - Sophia.

  2. Hahahaha! Yea, I did actually snort at you before you said I did! Nailed it. Cold...pft. ;)

    This whole post made me smile. It happens so regularly. I have a rule...well okay, I have a lazy law. If I have to go to work in the morning I chance loosing the idea. If I don't I get up and write it down or just type up some text short hand in my phone. Usually it's before work so I have to convince myself that I will remember...lost some great ideas that way...

    Glad you remembered!!!

  3. ergh! I HATE it when that happens. But that quote made me LOL!! convince myself it wasn't that funny...

    you w/the "not even five hours" thought was almost too much--that's usually the sign that I'm NOT going back to sleep. :D but I bet it really was a great idea you had~ :o) xoxo

  4. Haha, I have Mitch moments all the time! If I think of something late at night and don't write it down, I never, ever remember it. It's just impossible. And I've lost so many good ideas that way!

  5. I don’t have to worry about ideas or anything, but character names are a problem for me. If I come up with a cool name, I need to write it down ASAP or else I’ll forget it.

  6. I know that most inspiring moments are great moments that should be pursued. There are, however ideas I allow to fade away.

  7. i dont think I have read a post that made me laugh as much as this one, such an enjoyable read, writing down things you see as a good idea straight away is the best way of doing it, though I always struggle to find a pen at the time