Writers do it all night

During a writers' conference I attended last spring, the keynote speaker talked about the first time she wrote all night - tapping away at the keyboard and hearing an alarm clock go off in another room, and then noticing the muted light of sunrise coming through a curtain. My brain couldn't quite compute this. I mean, I'd definitely had my share of late nights while writing, but I'd always hit a point where I was either falling asleep at the keyboard or my brain had sorta shut off even though I was still technically awake. And then came October.

The past few weeks have been the most work-intensive five weeks I've ever spent writing, and though it hasn't happened yet, I'm suddenly conscious of how such a thing as writing all night can occur. I hit 3 a.m. three times during the fourth week - all of them nights I had to get up and go to work the next day. Before last month, I'd have assumed that getting four hours of sleep and being cognizant and alert the following day wasn't possible for me, certainly not multiple times within a week. But it was. The most insane thing about it, though, was that I haven't felt that awake and positive in a long time - not just while writing, but constantly over the 19-20 waking hours per day.

As of yesterday, I've completed the draft of MS1 (I don't even know which draft at this point - like, twentieth?), and it's been sent off to three critique partners and two reader friends. (Let the self-doubt begin! Just kidding. But not really.)

Time to get back to MS2, which is sitting around 50k words total (15k of that in various "later scene" chunks). I should probably get in a night or two of solid sleep before tackling it. Of course that just gives me time to begin obsessing over what I just handed to five other people to review... Meh. Sleep is overrated.

Tammara Webber

New York Times and international bestselling author of contemporary romantic fiction