Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Creative Minds and the Need for Sleep by Mary Ellis

Read any author interview or listen in on any conversation between writers and you will hear one universal theme: There aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Between day-jobs, spouses, kids, houses that need to be cleaned, and meals to get on the table—how does a writer find enough time to write? Once you’re published, you must factor in time for editing your last book, publicity for the current release, research for the next one to be written, and coming up with ideas for an outstanding proposal. Wait a minute. What about email, keeping up with your blog, and that social media Goliath lurking in the corner, ready to devour an hour—or day—or two? So little time, so much to do. Writers are ingenious when it comes to squeezing more into their workdays. We become masters at multi-tasking, but sleep is often what gets short-changed.

Instead of slipping on our jammies, dimming the lights, turning off communication devices, and slipping under Grandma’s quilt at a decent hour, we network into the wee hours. Then we face the next writing day sleep deprived. Besides packable bags beneath our eyes and crabby temperaments, there is another downside few authors consider. Sleep-time is also dream-time, and there is no better way to recharge your creative batteries than to dream. Especially during REM sleep, our dreams are often vivid enough to practically jump into and direct the outcome. The more we dream, the more we revitalize the right side of our brains. I’m not a dream therapist, nor do I play one on TV. But for years I’ve noticed my work after a good, dream-filled night’s sleep. Creativity thrives on rest, not extra caffeine. So the next time you find the middle of your story sagging, your characters suddenly have nothing interesting to say, or your next turning point is as predictable as January snow in Minnesota, don’t reach for another cup of coffee. Instead brew a cup of chamomile tea, dim the lights, turn off your phone and go catch some zzzz’s. Your writing will thank me in the morning.


Mary Ellis has written twelve award-winning novels set in the Amish community and several historical romances. Her latest, Magnolia Moonlight, is part of a new mystery series, Secrets of the South, from Harvest House Publishers. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate, a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits. She enjoys traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming, and lives in Ohio with her husband, dog and cat. Sunset in Old Savannah will release in early 2017. She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or www.facebook.com/Mary-Ellis/Author

Please leave Mary a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Magnolia Moonlight. US residents only please.

34 comments:

  1. Hi Mary! Boy, can I (almost) relate to this, but as a reader! Trying to fit reading time in-between other things that need to be done is a challenge sometimes. And though I don't have "kids" at home anymore, I do watch my 2 yr old grand-girl 3 to 4 days a week while my daughter works. So really the only good long stretch of reading time is in the evening when I go to bed. I end up reading too late, especially if it's a particularly good book, and waking up groggy & needing more caffeine than should be consumed by anyone, lol! While I'm sure a writer has much less time than me, just know your hard work & dedication is so appreciated by this reader :-)

    Thanks for the insightful post and giveaway for "Magnolia Moonlight". Blessings!

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  2. I love to read into the wee hours of the night. Having worked 20+ years as a night nurse, staying up is not much of a problem. Getting up is another story. I like that Mary Ellis worked for Hershey chocolates. My name is Anne and I am a chocoholic! I wouldn't mind having those sweet fringe benefits! Would love to win a copy of Magnolia Moonlight. Thanks for the opportunity!

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  3. I love read and I especially like to read books set in the South. Something about the South is fascinating to me. Would love to read "Magnolia Midnight".

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  4. I love read and I especially like to read books set in the South. Something about the South is fascinating to me. Would love to read "Magnolia Midnight".

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  5. I can imagine it would be hard to get enough time in a day for a good night's rest to be productive the next day! Some days I need about 10 more hours! Beautiful cover! I'd love to read it!

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  6. I like to read most any time, but in the evening after everyone else has gone to bed and the house is quiet seems to be my favorite time.
    betsylu2@msn.com

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  7. I used to be a 'sleep-deprived' reader, but I've learned to pace myself over time. Books you read may be so good that you don't want to put them down, but if you try to read while being too tired, then you are missing some of the story....whether you realize it or not. I can't tell you how many times I've re-read a passage because my eyelids kept drooping. Now, I read when I have the time and while I am wide awake...so much better getting the whole story. Thanks for the opportunity to win your book.
    debsbunch777@gmail.com

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  8. Sleep is over rated. Reading is the best relaxation.
    Thereadmaster@me.com

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  9. I have always had a hard time getting to sleep and staying asleep.My mind just doesnt like to shut off.

    mcaquinn@aol.com

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  10. I recently went through a period of not being able to go to sleep even though I was 'dead tired'. I am the primary caregiver for my 2 year old granddaughter and evening was the time I could check my email and read my favorite blogs. (Suspense Sisters included!) I read that using a computer or smart phone could cause sleeplessness so I am trying to curtail my use before bedtime. The plus side of those sleepless nights was that I had time to read!
    Mary, thanks for all of the reading enjoyment that you provide!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Connie, through a random drawing, you're the winner of Magnolia Moonlight. I will contact you through email for your mailing address. Thanks for reading the Suspense Sisters Blog!

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  11. And mary has one creative mind. cheetahthecat1986ATgmailDOTcom.

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  12. I love, love, love the "Secrets of the South" series!! Can't wait for Magnolia Moonlight"!!

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  13. I am looking forward to reading Magnolia Moonlight. I enjoy reading your books. Thank you for the opportunity to win.

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  14. Wonderful advice, Mary! Thanks so much for the chance to win a copy of MAGNOLIA MOONLIGHT!!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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  15. Mary, I love this quote from your post - Creativity thrives on rest, not extra caffeine. So, so true! Hugs and blessings,

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  16. Wow. You nailed me, Mary. I'd just talked myself into working a few more hours even though I felt I needed a nap. LOL! Thanks for this much needed article. Hugs.

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  17. I stay up very late reading. I grab my hot chocolate with peppermint creamer and get ready to be taken to a different era, town or a mystery waiting to be solved. I loved your writing style that allows me to escape into a wonderful story . I would love the chance to read , "Magnolia Moonlight."
    Deana
    Jhdwayne@peoplepc.com

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  18. Sleep doesn't come easy. I am a full time caregiver to my disabled husband and night time seems to be when his pain levels are the worse. So I tend to read my Kindle because I can put the lighting low and change the background color to beige instead of white.

    I also quilt and I wish I could/would take more time with my writing. There really doesn't seem like enough hours in the day and I don't work outside the home.

    I would love to read your book as I am down in the Magnolia area of Georgia. It sounds great! Thanks.

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  19. Sleep doesn't come easy. I am a full time caregiver to my disabled husband and night time seems to be when his pain levels are the worse. So I tend to read my Kindle because I can put the lighting low and change the background color to beige instead of white.

    I also quilt and I wish I could/would take more time with my writing. There really doesn't seem like enough hours in the day and I don't work outside the home.

    I would love to read your book as I am down in the Magnolia area of Georgia. It sounds great! Thanks.

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  20. angelachesnut246@gmail.com angela in ky would love to win.

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  21. Sleep is something I have always required a lot of. If I don't get at least 8 hours per night I can turn into a zombie. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your book. I would love to read this one.

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  22. It certainly makes sense that we'd be more creative after a good night's sleep. I'm glad you've figured this out so you can keep writing. I've read a couple of your Amish books that I enjoyed. I think I'll like this mystery series even better. I'd love to win a copy of Magnolia Moonlight so thanks for the chance.

    pmkellogg56[at]gmail[dot]com

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  23. Southern mysterys are the best! :)

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  24. Interesting post. It sounds like everyone could benefit creatively, if they would get more sleep.
    may_dayzee(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  25. My daughter wouldn't buy a house unless there was a magnolia tree in the yard. She found one, right across the street from us!
    Hershey's Chocolate? Wow, talk about dream job!
    Love mysteries, thanks for the chance.
    tumcsec(at)gmail(dot)com

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  26. My whole day goes better if I have had a good night's rest. My pain levels are less too. I'm not all that creative. Hmmmm. Maybe I need more sleep. fishingjan[at]aol[dot]com

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  27. Thanks so much for sharing with us. I thoroughly enjoy mysteries - thanks so much for the giveaway!
    bettimace at gmail dot com

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  28. Oh I can not wait to read this!!! Thanks, Kristie Porter
    tklovenestataoldotcom

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  29. I live in Ohio, too (Toledo)! Sounds like a good book.
    catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

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  30. Your advice is wonderful Mary. I dont know if I could follow it. I stay up late to be with my husband as he works late hours, thats when I usually read and I sleep very little due to my health issues. Love your Amish books and I am sure these suspense books you have written are great too! I would love to read your new book.
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
    Maryan

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  31. Mary, I am amazed by ALL that is necessary in writing a book. You give multi-tasking a new meaning. Congratulations on your the release of Magnolia Moonlight. I can't wait to read it!
    psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

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  32. In the past couple years I have gained a bit of an idea that authors go through a lot to deliver their masterpieces into readers' eager hands from watching their journeys on FB. Lack of sleep is probably one of the harder things an author goes through. I spent years working more and sleeping less, but the Lord doesn't let me get away with it any more - especially since I certainly didn't give Him enough time! Now I am a happy reader instead! jeaniedannheim@ymail.com

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  33. Thanks so everyone who took the time to leave me a comment. I read and loved every one of them. The authors at Suspense Sisters love our readers. Conne (cpa1950 at g (mail) dot com you're the lucky winner of Magnolia Moonlight. I will contact you via email. Thanks again, everyone!!

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