Ernie and Bert—and the (Sometimes) Benefits of Insomnia

Sure, sure, I know that you’re supposed to get at least eight hours of sleep a night. I’ve heard it can do wonderful things for your health and well-being. It might even leave you less groggy in the morning. Insomnia, however, has been a long-time companion of mine. Though I have no Boogie-Woogie Sheep to help me dance myself to sleep (alas), those precious eight hours can prove as elusive to me as they are to Ernie in this song.

There are times when this is a burden, without question. But there are advantages to say, having your natural clock wake you up at 3:30 in the morning. One of them is having some writing time.

In an ideal world, I’d have hours every day at my disposal to write and edit and think about the various stories I have percolating. But I work and I have a family, and that just isn’t realistic. So, I figure, if I’m already awake in the wee hours, why not put said wee hours to some good use?

The laptop sits by my bedside each night, and is frequently used. Sometimes I write down things I’ve dreamed about—what is now a large and unwieldy YA project began as a less-than-pleasant dream—and other times I go back in and revise whatever I was working on before bedtime. I’ve written down whole rough drafts of picture book stories that I barely remembered afterward.

Yes, this leaves me tired. Yes, I do realize it’s less than ideal. But you’ve got to work with what you have. And what I have is insomnia.

So, even though I know those tap dancing sheep would be lovely to have around, I prefer to let my much-beloved husband rest—and write myself to sleep instead.