View Full Version : Turning off your brain at night

Barb D
10-03-2008, 09:36 PM
So how do you do it? How do you stop thinking about plot and dialogue and actually, like, get to sleep? It doesn't help that some of my best ideas come then, and are forgotten by morning. But if I were to get up and write them down, I would never get to bed!

10-03-2008, 09:38 PM
I don't turn off my brain at night.

As a result, lately I've been working all night.

Mr Flibble
10-03-2008, 09:39 PM
Me either, which probably accounts for the fact I'm terminally knackered.

10-03-2008, 09:41 PM
I drink.

10-03-2008, 09:43 PM
I actually do my best brainstorming in that fuzzy place between awake and asleep. It took me a while to program myself to remember what I'd thought up, but now it works pretty good.

Problem being, when I'm feeling stuck on a book, my first impulse is to go to bed early so I can ponder it, and I think it rather annoys my husband. ;)

10-03-2008, 10:06 PM

Kitty Pryde
10-03-2008, 10:19 PM
1. No caffeine after 3 pm
2. Go to the gym so your body is tired
3. Be extremely sleep deprived over a long period of time so you can fall asleep right away!
4. Sleep with a pen and notepad just in case

Works for me. Sometimes my dreams take over and plot stories I'm not actually writing, but I don't think it can be helped.

10-03-2008, 11:30 PM
If you can't turn off then keep a note book handy and jot down jog lines that will prompt you when you're ready to write.

After you've done that, pick up and read aloud the transcript of the latest UN General Assembly session. That will send you into the land of Nod pronto.

If you don't sleep alone... well?

Clair Dickson
10-03-2008, 11:36 PM
I have a notepad next to the bed. Granted middle-of-the-night-in-the-dark scrawlings aren't the most legible, but it's better than hauling my tailfeathers out of bed to write things down.

I don't know how to turn off my brain. It doesn't listen to me.

Mad Queen
10-04-2008, 04:31 AM
Sleep is overrated anyway.

10-04-2008, 04:51 AM
Wow! This is like an 'all of the above' for me.

Write it down anyway, while you're supposed to be sleeping.
Take a blue pill.
Get up and channel your muse into your laptop (that's for when the buggers won't shut up inside your head!).

10-04-2008, 04:52 AM
When I'm writing a novel I never, ever go to bed without a pen, maybe two, in my bed. (Yes, I sleep alone, thank you!)
Where the other person is supposed to be I have several books that I'm reading, all with envelopes as book markers. On these I write the ideas that come to me.

And most important, I get almost every single idea worth writing while lying down. Furthermore, if it's a plot thing I'm searching for, I lay on the right side so the blood sits in that half of my brain. Emotional scene, left side. Erotic scene, shower.

Hey, maybe I should get a life!

10-04-2008, 05:16 AM
I think I'm functioning pretty well on 3.5 hours of sleep today, due to a story idea that hit me right before bedtime. Just write until you're too tired to do anything else but sleep.


Alpha Echo
10-04-2008, 05:16 AM
I don't turn off my mind. I let it wonder. I dream up scenes and characters and let my story float around in my head.

I am an insomniac though. So I'm not sure this will help you.

Dale Emery
10-04-2008, 05:28 AM
Usually making notes helps. Then my brain can relax, knowing that I'll remember this horribly important idea in the morning.


Dale Emery
10-04-2008, 05:32 AM

10-04-2008, 06:02 AM
Strangely enough, when I'm going to bed/sleeping is the only time I don't think about my writing. I have a tendency to do it more at work (not good, I know) but when I'm ready to sleep, it's like my brain's break from writing. I don't think I've ever got any motivation or inspiration from dreams or being on the brink of sleep or anything like that.

I'm not much help, am I?

10-04-2008, 06:14 AM
I sleep, but I never turn off my brain, I sleep really light and can wake with the sound of a light switch from another room. I keep a tape recorder on my nightstand. If I wake up, I can record my thoughts/dreams that way.

10-04-2008, 06:20 AM
Why would I want to turn it off?

10-04-2008, 05:10 PM
Turning it off just doesn't seem to be a problem for me. I don't know, maybe either 1. I'm not a before-sleep-thinking type of person, or 2. I spend so much time during the day (like, my entire life) thinking about my stories and plots and characters that, by the time I go to bed, I don't need to think about them anymore...?

I do know that if I actively lie there and think about some aspect of something, it'll delay me from getting to sleep, so I just don't mull over it. I realize this is easier said than done, so I have no explanation whatsoever how it works. It's weird it even works at all, seeing as I'm very obsessive and usually CAN'T stop thinking about things when I want to.

Oh! Hm. As someone with OCD, one of the things I've learned is that the harder you tell yourself NOT to think about something, the more you think about it. You have to learn to compromise. Maybe that's the key? Let yourself think about it for a reasonable amount of time, then make a deal with yourself to let yourself sleep?

10-04-2008, 05:22 PM

10-04-2008, 05:34 PM

Hope it lasts longer than your post.

10-04-2008, 07:09 PM
Hope it lasts longer than your post.


I actually brainstorm while waiting for sleep, and just after waking up. I never get anything out of it- but it helps me fall asleep, and it helps me feel more 'awake' in the mornings.

10-04-2008, 08:57 PM
I sleep alone (apart from one of the dogs) but I am currently on fairly strong medication which I take at bedtime. It knocks me out within 15 minutes so that's it for at least eight hours, then I'm on planet stupid for a while after I get up.
I have pretty lurid dreams but nothing I would wish to convert into words... :e2faint:

10-04-2008, 10:45 PM
Some nights I've tried mulling over details in my story. Picturing scenes as if watching a movie. the trouble is whenever I do this my brain becomes wired and I can't get to sleep. It would be perfect if I could do that as I fall asleep but as I can never sleep I don't get the chance to sleep on things!

10-04-2008, 11:11 PM


10-04-2008, 11:22 PM
Sleep? What's that?

Lately I've been getting up and typing my revisions into the laptop. Not nearly as much fun as writing or plotting, but it seems to help burn off that excess mental energy so I can get to sleep. And at least I'm accomplishing something while doing it.

10-04-2008, 11:56 PM
I definitely have no desire to turn my brain off. I write article drafts as I'm falling asleep, and usually enough sticks with me to be useful the next day. When I finally drift off, I tend to dream in Technicolor with full special effects, although rarely is any of that useful for my writing.

10-05-2008, 12:40 AM
So how do you do it? How do you stop thinking about plot and dialogue and actually, like, get to sleep? It doesn't help that some of my best ideas come then, and are forgotten by morning. But if I were to get up and write them down, I would never get to bed!

Try repeating a sentence to yourself, before you go to sleep, or fall asleep saying it. Any kind of sentence that puts your mind at rest, with your writing or story. I think a positive one, will definetly do the trick. Something like 'I have faith in my story' or 'I am free in my plot'. As you fall asleep you will relax, with the mental understanding that your story/writing is fine, because you are happy with it, and your ideas will re-surface upon that realisation. :)

If that doesn't work, don't stress. Just keep in mind, to relax and take your time with your best ideas. Do something physical before falling asleep something that'll make you feel good, at the same time make you feel like you need a hundred years rest. When you awake depending on how used to physical exercise you are, you'll either feel more tired or feel better. Hopefully the feeling better one will be your choice, so much so it'll make you alive with new ideas-and even better ones you hadn't thought of before.

Ok so back to reality, it's your choice whatever you do. ;)

Just feel and think it's your story, so you should be able to learn how to create it in the best light you see fit.

Good luck, whatever you do. :)