Monday, March 7, 2011

Wicked Nightmares

So, I started a new project this weekend. I only have 3,000 words, but that's a lot for me. I'm loving it. I decided to save up my energy for that big war scene. I might tackle that next week. With all the junk in my head, I've been having a hard time sleeping. Not to mention my kids don't sleep, that well. One's five and one's 2 1/2. If one sleeps the other one is up and vice versa. My son also thinks it's hysterical to wake up at 5 am. The kids not sleeping, I'm used to, me not sleeping because I can't shut my brain off is another thing. Here's the issue. When I finally do sleep, I sleep super deep, super fast, which results in some wicked real nightmares. It started when my kids were infants and I was up every 2 hours.

The majority of these nightmares usually involves my kids. Not pleasant and extremely unsettling. One re-occuring one is my daughter being ripped from an airplane. Yeah, the roof flies off and she goes with it. It's horrible and disturbing, but feels extremely real. Now, I also chalk this up to being a parent. You can't help,but think of some of the horrible things that can happen to your kids.

Another theme of these realistic nightmares is my writing. Okay not as horrific, but still unsettling. I keep having nightmares of failure, people laughing at me, telling me I'm a joke and they were just being nice when they critiqued my stuff. It bothers me a lot. Maybe it's that doubt and insecurity that lurks in the shadows, ready to pounce on your weakest moment, sucking any optimism you have from your soul. It's part of the process and maybe it's because I started of a new project. I think I work hard. I  think I'm somewhat accepted. Do I have what it takes? I don't know, but the feeling is real and it stinks. I really don't like waking up feeling that way. Not a good way to start the day.

One thing that keeps going through my head is "The porch test." A speaker at a recent SCBWI conference spoke about this. The speaker told us to imagine ourselves in our 80s sitting on a porch, reminiscing about our life. I don't like to think of myself in my 80s (I fear getting old), but I played along.

The first visual is you got that agent, got that publishing deal, and became famous. You are probably extremely satisfied and happy.

The second visual is you went for your dream, wrote all the stories you wanted to write, but never got published. You're satisfied because you tried. No regrets.

The third visual is you never tried. You're miserable and grumpy. Regrets galore.

I thought it was a pretty good exercise. Uplifting. I know I don't want number 3 and I know if I keep traveling on number 2, well, I guess I would be fine with that. It stills doesn't help with doubt, though.

Now, I know my goal. I know what I want. Can I get it? Time will tell. I just want to sleep and get away from these stupid nightmares that push me down. Maybe I should try dreaming of my characters, they talk in my head all day. Maybe they go to sleep at night. At least someone is sleeping.

How do you get rid of nightmares?

How was your weekend?

My goals this week: Trying to write the new story. It's so much fun. The soundtrack is developing too. Lots of Blink-182 and punk rock.

Any goals?

Have a great day!


  1. I'm so sorry for the nightmares. I don't know how to get rid of them. Unless you should get up earlier before you enter that dream stage? Hope it gets better. But, congrats on starting a new wip. Enjoy the ride!

  2. That sucks about your nightmares - like that's really awful. I'm sorry they're so horrific and you have to deal with that. I'm not much help in that department, I'm afraid. I get really bad realistic nightmares - both while I'm asleep and sometimes when I'm awake my brain just wanders and I have waking dreams/nightmares. I have no idea how to get rid of them. Mostly I just cuddle my cat or try to write and exorcise the demons so to speak.

    I hope your new story grants you some reprieve.

  3. That's a fabulous way to imagine things! I think I'll give it a try today. After all, I'm feeling a bit bummed about all my recent findings last week and finding it very difficult to write even a lousy poem.

    I have that feeling that I've run out of ideas... silly I know, but the feeling looms.

  4. I have nightmares too, about my past life, (my life before I was a writer.) I think I know why you're having yours and I'll email you.

    Great work on your new idea. Sounds great if it even has a soundtrack.

    As for me, I'm stuck in a plot hole. I introduced a character too soon and now can't decide what to do with him. In order for the rest of the book to work he has to disappear. Almost 5k to cut. UGH!

  5. Good luck with the writing. Dreams, nightmares and all, usually tell us something. Maybe there's an underlying plot you subconsciously want to add to your story or maybe something is bothering you. Usually, after I reflect, I'll figure it out. Hindsight....

  6. I've never had the writing nightmares, only the ones involving my husband and kids. But after watching a Blues Clues episode a few years ago, I finally learned how to control my nightmares. I've been trying to teach my kids the same skills (since they don't remember that episode).

    Love Sheri's comment. Now you just have to figure out what the problem is.

  7. Ugh, I hate nightmares! I had a straight month of nothing but nightmares, the good thing is...they do ease up once your mind settles some. I do hope they go away soon though! It's not the best way to wake up, and when I was having that gruesome month I just learned to shake it off as soon as I opened my eyes.

    Yay, for the progress on the new project! That's awesome and I'm very, very happy you got that many words down and proud of you for always stickin through the hard times. Lady, you will not have that regret at 80. You're too resiliant and strong to let that happen. All the faith in you! :)

  8. It's hard when you have little ones that don't let you sleep. It does get better though, when they're a little bit older.

  9. I hate nightmares! I've always been prone to them. Fortunately, they never involve my kids getting hurt. I personally believe in prayer. I find that when I pray before bed, which I usually do, I sleep better.

    As for your new story, maybe the plot is do grained in your head and that is the reason for the nightmares (since I know the story...just a possibility?) I can totally see Graham listening to Blink 182. Can't wait to read more of the story- I love it so far. I think you have something really fresh with it!

  10. I love the porch test! What a great way to think about it. I hope your nightmares go away soon. Maybe you'll start dreaming about this new project, which would be so much better!

  11. I feel for you with your bad dreams. I understand what you brain does not shut off either unless I am extremely tired or I sedate it. I wish I had some advice for you, I really do. I just write about my dreams and all the ideas that come t me with in them. I get a lot...literally more than I can handle.

  12. I don't remember dreams often. I sleep light and wake often, which doesn't do me any favors, but there you go. I blame it on the kiddos as well. :)

    And the way I get by those doubts is to just shut up and keep on writing. What else can I do?

  13. oh, honey! What terrible, terrible nightmares! I'm so sorry. :o\ We're just getting through that no-sleep phase, but I still wake up hearing phantom little footsteps in my bedroom... sigh.

    I like your porch test. And ro get back to sleep? Either praying about the worry or imagining a new scene for whatever WIP I'm on. Both work equally well~ :o) <3

  14. Those nightmares are no fun. Especially when they're about your kids. The porch test is really cool- but I also have those doubts. I think we all have those from time to time. Hope you start sleeping better!

  15. I dreamed last night I was a clone and a robot. ??? Reminds me that I need to write that one down.

    Yay on the new WIP. Hope your sleep comes back.

  16. Congrats on the wordage! That's awesome!

    And I totally understand the doubt. I've been having one of those months it seems. The porch test sound really interesting. I'll have to keep that in mind for the next time I start doubting myself. Which will probably be in the next hour or so. ;)

    Sleep better! Sweet dreams! :)

  17. Gosh, I'm sorry, Christine! That airplane dream would scare me to death!

    Have you tried sleeping in a new position or a new location for awhile? Camp out on a sofa for a night or two ... set up an air mattress ... put the pillow at the foot of the bed and sleep backwards for a couple nights?

    Good luck on your new project! That's always exciting!