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Getting the words down. posted 14 February 2005 in Writing TipsGetting the words down. by RevCasy, Candidate

For some reason, sleep deprivation gets my creative juices flowing, although most of the time those juices are rancid and quite unusable by the next morning (forcing a revision).

Oddly enough, sleep deprivation sometimes helps me when writing as well. This is particularly true of poetry.

I have a hypothesis about why this is true.

If I think of myself as a writer at all, then it is as a fiction writer. However I produce far more poetry than fiction. So, I have some experience with writing in a poetic way. I've been struggling (and mostly failing) to write poetry for 15 or so years!

From what I can tell, writing poetry (in a poem's initial stages anyway) requires a person to connect meaning with language in a novel way. This is much easier to accomplish with intuition and a wandering mind than it is to "reason" one's way into. In fact, it may be impossible to reason one's way into poetry.

A sleeping or sleep-deprived mind is better at connecting things that would not ordinarily be connected. One need only experience strange thoughts as one lies in bed on the edge of sleep to see what I mean by this. And dreams are theorized to be nothing more than one's mind making up stories to fit around the irrational connections made by the random firing of nuerons in a sleeping brain.

Or to put it another way, lack of sleep, or a close approach to sleep makes it easier for one to temporarily abandon reason, and to make irrational connections while intuiting a possible novel link between them.

To give a hackneyed example, "love is a rose." Huh? To say that the painful emotion commonly referred to as love is the same as the reproductive system of a plant is, in a word, irrational. Only the poet's intuition (or in this case, our long experience with the cliche) allows the connection to be made.

So, maybe being sleepy makes one more poetic?

In any case, I wouldn't recommend editing while sleep deprived, as that is a whole other can of worms. <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) -->

Edited: new and improved. view post


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