Trading Sleep

to what length have I gone

when I trade a night of sleep

in order to reach a new voice

located somewhere in my head

is this the life of a writer

to trade sleep, to sacrifice

small bits of your sanity

to go in new directions

or create something you

have never read or seen

will this trade work out

in my favor or to my detriment


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About John White

I've written off and on my entire life. It took years for me to finally take putting words together seriously. Now it's not, nor does it ever feel, like work. Writing daily has become habitual. No day is complete without words having appeared on the page.

Posted on April 2, 2015, in Poetry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 69 Comments.

  1. to what length have I gone
    to trade one day of sanity
    in order to reach a new sentence
    located somewhere in my heart

  2. oh yes… those 3am muse attacks.. I know them well! great poem!

  3. Great piece John, I can’t begin to say how rite you are

  4. There’s a part of me that loves the adrenalin rush of creativity in the middle of the night πŸ™‚

    • Sometimes no matter the hour of day your mind can just click and it’s as if the writing is done for you on auto-pilot. I’ve had times like that and they aren’t just a rush but in some ways draining. What can be interesting is to go back days later and re-read everything that was written during that orgy of creativity to examine what you wrote, how you wrote and whether or not you approve of its quality after some time away from it.

  5. But still some of the best pieces are written in those silent and dark nights, eyes struggling to pull down the curtains while brain tightly holding the strings! πŸ™‚ every writer can relate to this. Well said!

  6. ghostwriter999

    Skeep is overrated anyway… πŸ˜‰

  7. Hi John – great post! What’s sleep, btw? My brain dumps always happen in the middle of the night. I’m helpless when it comes to my own creativity.

  8. This sounds very familiar. In the dead of night is when I am most prone to write proliferously! It’s as if I’m on fire and I can’t sit still/rest until I get it all out. Then I’m spent and fall into the bed as though pumped/drained of all the life /energy inside me. Then the next day when I re-read in an attempt to edit, I can’t believe this words came from me. The experience is amazing!

  9. I totally understand this. I also find myself seeming to trade my sanity to unlock deeper parts of my creativity. Thanks for the follow too by the way!

    • Thanks, Evan! Pure insomnia is one thing but staying awake because there is an urge to write can make us pretty crazy. No muse needed. Just let the mind wander. It’s great to meet you!

  10. I could totally relate! Never been able to sleep peacefully because my head is jammed with new ideas, sentences…

  11. As a student, my mind is at its creative best at midnights, especially when I’m preparing for an important test or exam the next day. I would be burning the midnight oil trying to finish reading a dozen essays and notes by the morning, but all I can think of is this bright new idea that has struck me, and can’t take in a word of what I read until I indulge the muse. Very frustrating! πŸ˜€

  12. Life of a student too
    ..I trade my nights of sleep going over information for my tests

  13. Depends on what you write

  14. Even with little success, this is a trade of the heart that always works out. If not for our wallets, for our psyches. Love this poem.

  15. Love poetry but I have a great deal of difficulty writing it. So I suspect you now know how much I liked this poem John, since I appreciate how hard it can be. :O)

  16. Yes, I’ve woken up in the middle of the night, had to get up and write something. Ridiculous, isn’t it? 😊

  17. I can relate. I enjoyed this. πŸ™‚

  18. Reblogged this on Hitlerskiss Blog and commented:
    enjoyed this piece,hope u do too!

  19. Beautiful poem! This so truly describes every author’s sacrifice of their sanity in order to apply to the world of their writing. Beautiful.

  20. Ha, that’s awesome. I was just deciding…20 more minutes to write and read, or should I go to bed? πŸ™‚

  21. p.s. thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

  22. So utterly relatable ! And why oh why do the best ideas, that flow of thoughts and words come only after midnight ??!!
    Creativity (esp. writing) and insomnia are intimately connected, I think

    • Thank you! It does seem that those two are connected at the hip and I’m not certain why. It’s a total mystery. Sometimes it’s even tougher to wake up at 4 a.m. with an idea running wild in your brain and then you must roll out of bed, grab paper and pen and start writing. πŸ™‚ It’s great to meet you!

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