Do Your Characters Sleep?

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Seems like an odd question, right?

I was lying in bed just a few minutes ago when I thought of this topic. I know for certain that James Patterson’s characters sleep. Because Detective Alex Cross is often woken from his sleep to get to a scene or by something happening inside his own home. I also think Spenser and Harry Bosch sleep in their stories. But that’s about all I could come up with. Three characters written by three different authors.

Isn’t that just a little odd? Sleeping is something that everyone must do, but it doesn’t happen often in books. At least not the ones I’m reading. I know Andrew sleeps in my book. I think I probably ended three chapters with him going to sleep after a long day. And that’s really what I’m talking about here. I’m not expecting to have these characters sleep in every chapter or something. But I do think it’s possible that authors sometimes forget that these are supposed to be people. Sure there fictional, but how many characters do we see coming to TV or movies every year?

Just a thought.

Do your characters sleep?

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Finding Time to Write

Photo Credit: Andrew Lazo

Before I begin I would first like to tell you all a little about myself that you may or may not already know. I work 16 hours a week Friday-Sunday. The other four days of the week are supposed to be my ‘writing’ days. Now we can begin.

Generally speaking, we all have a million things going on that always seem to get in the way of our writing time. I’m no different. It just happens that my hours are not spent at a job like I know most of yours are. But I assure you that there are countless things that pull me away from my writing time, because it’s not like we can sit down and write for five minutes and get up. That’s not what I call serious writing. Personally, I can’t write for less than about an hour, and I often write for longer stretches of time than that.

Sleep

But the point of this post is not to tell you how long I write, it’s to tell you why I often find myself not doing so. I hate to say it, but I have an absolutely horrendous sleep schedule. I’ve never put a clock to it, but I figure I sleep somewhere between 10 and 12 hours every 24. Ever since I earned my degree last May I’ve not had that concrete sleep schedule that I had for the previous 16 years of my life when I had to wake up for school everyday. I always find myself napping even after just waking up. I don’t know any other person who sleeps as much as I do. Maybe a baby somewhere?

TV

I’ve reached the point at which I consider myself a TV-holic. Seriously, there aren’t enough hours in the day for the number of TV shows I watch. Here’s what’s currently on.

Monday: The Voice, The Following, Bates Motel, Switched at Birth, The Fosters, Jeopardy!

Tuesday: The Voice, Ink Master, Marvel’s Agents of Shield, Jeopardy!

Wednesday: Nashville, American Idol, Best Ink, The Americans, Jeopardy!

Thursday: The Crazy Ones, American Idol, Jeopardy!

Friday: Jeopardy!

Saturday: Cops

That’s 20 different things waiting for me to watch on my DVR every week! What am I to do with all of that other than watch it?! I have a confession. I usually watch the shows on their original air dates just a short time after they’ve begun so I can skip the commercials. I don’t think any more needs to be said about my TV watching, because I’m sure after looking over that list that it’s apparent I have an obsession.

Gym

I’m a bodybuilder. Truthfully. Even though my training sessions don’t typically last more than about 70 minutes or so, the last thing I want to do after getting home from the gym is sit down and write. I’d rather shower and eat and lie down and watch one of my many TV shows. That isn’t changing. I work much harder than most people in the gym, and frankly, I’m tired afterward. The creative juices just aren’t running.

Reading

I read A LOT. Not so much recently, but I read more than anyone I know personally. I have to, right? Because you can’t be a good writer without having first been a good reader. I love reading just as much as I love writing, but sometimes another author’s book pulls me away from working on my own. It’s a little unfortunate, but my reading is what got me here in the first place. I can’t just give it up.

Just a bunch of excuses

At the end of the day these are all just my excuses not to write, because if I want to write then I will and if I don’t then I won’t. It really is that simple. I may have the next chapter or two or ten played out in my head, but they’re nothing if only rattling around up there. I’m always thinking about my story, but it’s much more difficult for me to sit down and get fingers to keyboard.

So I ask you, what do you do to find time to write?