Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tools of the trade

As you can see, I'm all prepared for writing inspiration to strike in the dead of night.

Notepad? check

Cheap biro? check

Tiny clip-on torch to avoid waking the dead? check

Drink of water to refresh sleep-addled brain? check
(actually I'm scared of having a choking fit in the middle of the night, that's why the water's there. Not that it's ever happened.)

Reading matter in case I can't get back to sleep? check

Stuffed bunny rabbit for...er? It's not mine, obviously.

Now, I'm normally away with the fairies once my head hits the pillow and although I dream about writing when I'm in full flow, and occasionally wake up in the morning with an Idea, I'm rarely, if ever (okay NEVER) roused enough to fanny about scrawling things down before sunrise...until last night. I can't even remember what time it was, only that I woke up knowing I'd had a writing thought SO PROFOUND it had to be committed to paper.

I got up this morning feeling quite excited, like I do on Christmas day wondering if Santa's been...ahem, I mean like I USED to do on Christmas day.

What pearls of wisdom had dribbled from brain to note-pad? Would they be so inspirational that scholars would study them in years to come, saying, "my god, I wish I'd thought of that. It's so...profound!"

I picked up the pad with bated breath and read...

...that'll be a no then.

One thing was clearly missing from my bedside check-list - a brain.

Also, I spent so much time fiddling about with that stupid tiny torch that I dropped the pad on the floor and apparently woke the dead anyway.


Jan Jones said...

Do you know - I'm so impressed you wrote something you could actually READ in the morning!

Pat Posner said...

Well, I want to know what shrank back after the lights snapped on.

JJ said...

Oh deary me, I laughed at that.

Thank you, *wiping a tear away*

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

You research is enlightening! Just goes to show that our minds have a sense of humour and trick us into thinking we have penned the greatest thing since the bible when we wake up foggy headed and write down something of such profound content that it actually on a literary par of a shopping list! Great post Karen.

tumbleweed said...

followed a trail of breadcrumbs through the woods (just beating the pigeons to em) and discovered your pages...not usually a follower but these pearls are too good to miss

Debs said...

Well, I can assure you, your attempts far exceed my own pathetic ones. I've written a couple of pages in the past - of completely illegible guff!

Love the torch!

HelenMH said...

I so want one of those tiny torches! Your scribblings make much more sense than mine do.

Dumdad said...

Interestingly, almost all your books are written by women. Perhaps that's not very interesting. And I think you protest too much - that is your rabbit.

Alis said...

My night-time scribblings always feel like pearls of distilled wisdom too, and they all turn out to be even less genius-laden than this.
By the way, is your beside table always this tidy?

Lane said...

I'm all googly eyed at your very neat bedside table:-)

Am also very impressed at your middle of the night words. Especially 'advantageous'!

Dumdad said...

An award for you to collect over at my place.

Bernadette said...

Oh I did laugh - but I thought it said 'tights snapped on.' Not planning erotica, are we?

I have been known to write shopping lists in the middle of the night of essential items I know I've forgotten to write down, only to find it identical to the list already downstairs in the morning.


Why not write a novel about the "ups and downs" of a writer attempting to write her first novel? Nice mug BTW :) Tommox

Word verification is WHY PEN ???

Mickmouse said...

Dear Karen
I have a prepared beside table like yours, with additional pen in case first one does not work, however I have only once woken with an inspired thought in the wee small hours. I was flummaxed though as I did not have the mini torch!! I am an owl not a lark so any morning writing before caffeine would not be legible or intelligible.
Great Post Karen

Lorna F said...

I always keep pen and notebook by the bed, though all too often what I've scribbled down (sometimes in pitch dark so the writing trails off down the page like a rejected drunk on Sauchiehall Street) turns out in the bleak cold light of day to be utter bilge - or, what's even worse, really banal. Plumbing the shallows. However, I still keep the notebook there, because there's nothing worse than the shreds of a good idea fading, wraithlike, from your brain - or the memory that you had an idea back in the wee small hours and have absolutely no idea what it was. Also, for me it did, in the end pay off: 'The Chase' was born out of a semi-conscious slipping-into-sleep vision that came into my head. I can remember staggering out of bed because I didn't have a notebook by me, scribbling down a phrase or two, with the thought 'That'll make a good short story'. Several years later, it was a 105,000 word novel. By me. In the shops. On Amazon. Worth a bleary-eyed fumble for a pen anyday. Lorna x

Annieye said...

This made me laugh. I tried it too - here is a favourite one of my own that'll never cross my keyboard:

'Violet had everything but lacked everything.'

What? (Think I'll leave it where it belongs)

Lily Sheehan said...

Thats just reminded me that I had a good idea for a story the other night and i cant remember it now. You have inspired me to sort my bedside table out with things other than junk! OMG thats bugging me now.

womagwriter said...

Ha ha! Good post Karen, made me laugh aloud. I've done the nocturnal scribbling thing myself once or twice, usually after a feed of drink the night before, so what I've written makes even less sense.

Amanda said...

Cripes, your bedside table looks scarely like mine - truly! YIKES
:-) x

KatW said...

Oh Karen - laugh - I've so missed reading your blog. Your blog is brilliant!

I have also scribbled something half asleep (also half or very drunk) sure it is profound - alas so far the next day my scribble is unreadable/unfathomable. At least you can read yours!

Kat :-)

Tam said...

Where's the half drunk cup of tea???
I loved this post and if snapping the lights on made the darkness shrink back I reckon it might be advantageous.

I want a mini torch thingy.

Jean said...

I once dreamt that I'd woken up and written on my notepad some wonderful words of wisdom. Well, I must've dreamt it 'cos when I woke up in the morning and eagerly grabbed my notepad to see what I'd written, it was blank. Er, well...

KAREN said...

jan jones - So am I actually - even if it makes no sense!

patp - Lol! God knows what I was dreaming about :oO

jj - I was trying to be meaningful I'll have you know!!

mob - At least a shopping list might have been useful!

tembleweed - Why thank you. Sometimes I'm quite sensible :o)

debs - That torch has been particularly useful for trying to spot rodents in the boudoir!!

helenmh - I think the torch was from Waterstones, by the tills. V. useful during our recent powercut :o)

dumdad - Quite misleading as I do read books by the hairier sex. Actually, looking at my piles again (as it were) Harlen Coben IS a man...allegedly :o)

alis - My bedside table is only this tidy because we recently had new carpet laid, which involved a mad de-clutter of the bedroom!

lane - See above! There's a fine layer of dust if you look closely :o) I DO like the word advantageous, and will squeeze it in somewhere!

dumdad - Ooh, how lovely. I'll be over in a mo...

bernadette - Tights snapped on!! How funny. Made me think of my gran for some bizarre reason :oO

Identical shopping lists? That IS interesting!

tommo - Word veri is most appropriate sometimes! I like mugs - my friend bought me that one for my birthday :o)

mickmouse - I might have made more sense if I'd scribbled something in the dark - it must have been the light that threw me!

lorna f - I LOVE that your novel was born out of a semi-conscious state! Definitely worth it :o) I doubt very much that'll be the case here...

annieye - I rather like that line! Very profound :o))

womagwriter - P'raps I need to start drinking late at night - might trigger something interesting!

lily - Maybe a dictaphone would be a better idea? Then again, mumbling nonsense out loud in the night would be quite scary :o)

amanda - Well, they do say great minds think alike :o))

katw - Nice to see you again! Mind you it might have been better if I couldn't read it the next morning :o)

tam - I hadn't thought of it like that! See, it DOES make sense :o)

jean - Ooh spooky. It's like those dreams I have after the alarm goes off, where I'm getting out of bed and dressed but in fact I've gone back to sleep!!

Kerry said...

Lol! I always have dreams that I think would make an amazing story and then when I recount them to A realise they are just jibberish - if only there were magical glasses that gave writing the 'sleepy treatment!'

KAREN said...

kerry - Ooh magical glasses, I like the sound of those!

bfs said...

Had to crack up at this post! We are always at our most brilliant when asleep -- or when sleep talking!

Fionnuala said...

God this made me LAUGH! Fx

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