A Creative Mind Doesn't Always Sleep

As the alarm went off early this morning, my first words were, "Ugh! Is it time to get up already? I am so tired."

"Yes" my husband responded in a tired voice. "Why did you get up to work last night?"

"I had to write something down. I woke up thinking about a project that I was working on yesterday. I think I figured out a solution or at least a better idea to make it work."

"That is great," he said. "But why do you always think about these things in the middle of the night?" And as usual, my inconclusive response was "I don't know, I am sorry I woke you up again."

So many of our morning's start off with this same conversation, not always in this pleasant tone. It is not uncommon for me to wake up in the middle of the night usually around the same time between 3:00 and 3:30 am. Over the years, these late night awake moments have provided me with a lot of clarity.

Don't get me wrong, when I wake up in the middle of the night I don't always jump out of bed and work. Sometimes while I am half awake, I write down thoughts on my iPhone notepad. When the ideas persist and I can't fall back to sleep, then I get up and find a piece of paper and a pen to write down my thoughts and ideas. I try not to turn on the computer as the bright light will certainly keep me up through the later morning hours. Last night happened to be one of those writing nights.

Ironically, later this morning my husband called me from his office to tell me to read an article that he emailed me from the Wall Street Journal "Tactics to Spark Creativity. Even People Who Lack Ideas Can Set the Scene for Inspiration; Just Walk Away" by Sue Shellenbarger. The article explained some recent research findings about people's creativite experiences. It also highlighted a few successful ideas that were attributed to these different creative experiences.

I related to some of the information in the article. I realized whether I am stuck on a line of code, lost for words while writing a blog, or confused as to the creative direction for my illustrations, waking up in the middle of the night with a solution seems to be considered quite normal. During sleep time, the mind rests. Many of my most productive ideas have arrived at some of the creative times mentioned in the article, such as during the night, when I am running on a tread mill, day dreaming about being somewhere else, or while I am walking home from the subway listening to music.

Hopefully, many of you have your own productive, creative times.

Also, I hope that this article helped my husband realize that he is most likely not the only one being woken up at odd hours during the night.

So, I have to ask what is your most creative time?