Don’t you hate it when you wake up in the middle of the night, from a vivid dream or something else, and you have the next idea for the book you’re currently writing? As much as I love it when that instantaneous idea of genius hits me; after I wake up, it’s so hard to go back to sleep. I have to write it down before I forget it, or it will rumble around in my head, keeping me awake even longer. That’s the problem you run into as a writer… A lot of sleepless nights. The question is, do I ignore those late night inspirations for the sake of sleep?
Author and writing mentor Tom Bird writes, “Writing should be a comprehensive and holistic support system that opens participants to a free-flowing mental, physical, emotional and spiritual state.” I totally agree with that, but it’s kind of hard to be inspired at 2:00 a.m. after waking up from a wicked dream.
I find that inspiration is something that comes at a moments notice, whether from a dream or maybe something that pops into your head while out on a walk. For example, I was walking my dog the other night, thinking about the chapter I currently writing in my next book of the Forever Avalon series, The Prometheus Engine. I’ve been stuck at this one part when it suddenly hit me, as clear as day.
You see, I’ve been working on creating a new type of mage, a fighting mage called the Magus. These wizards are not worried about studying magic or understanding the philosophy of magic; but rather, they use their skills to fight and protect other wizards. Think of them as a magical Praetorian Guard. Their focus is on attack and defense. They are the warrior class of mages.
The problem is, I needed a way for the Magus to carry a variety of magical weapons at their disposal without looking like an overzealous, overburdened fighter. You see, to me, the Magus focus their magic on weapons, not wands and staffs, so they learn about the art of war like a mixed martial artist. Then I had this wonderful idea for a pauldron–a shoulder plate armor piece–that extended down a Magus’ arm into a gauntlet. Each piece in the armor would be storage for a different magical weapon. So a young Magus might have one or two weapons while a more powerful Magus could have 10 or more. All a Magus had to do was cast a summoning spell to bring out the weapon.
All this came to me while walking my dog. That’s what I love about being a writer. Inspiration hits me at different times and it makes writing so much more fun than I could imagine. It just takes a moment for that spark of imagination to ignite inside me.
It’s those late night, interactive, rolling movie set of a dream that keeps me awake all night sometimes. I have a dream where an idea for another part of my book hits me. I wake up and realize, “that’s what I’ve been looking for!” But now that I know what I’m going to do, I can’t stop thinking about it. It just goes on and on, like a multi-part mini-series spread over two weeks inside my head. No matter how hard I try, I can’t go back to sleep. It’s frustrating, especially when I have to get up for work the next morning.
So what do I do? I usually write it down. I find that writing down these bursts of imagination helps me go back to sleep. Normally, I’d say keep a pen and paper close by, but my Galaxy Note smartphone has a great note taking function that lets me jot down ideas, but to each his own. I still have trouble going back to sleep, but that’s okay. As long as I got the idea written down, it’s worth it.
So remember these words when you have those moments of instant clarity and inspiration that keep you up at night.
“The power of a writer is that he is a god of sorts. He can create his own worlds and populate them with his own people, all by the powers of his imagination. It’s the closest a man can come close to the gods. No wonder the most successful writers are considered immortals.” ― Bangambiki Habyarimana
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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.