SLEEP, FAITH AND THE WRITING LIFE
OK, the silly season is over. It’s time to get back to work, or to writing. There are people who think it’s not the same thing. Whichever, it involves a few adjustments, which is why I tore out two newspaper items (annoying my husband in the process) that eventually provoked this post.
The first one was headed, ‘Sleep loss a kick to the head’ which discussed a study that found going without sleep causes changes to the brain that resemble those that result from a blow to the head. Indicators of brain damage from concussion, for example, include a rise in NSE and S-100B chemicals in the blood. The same rise in NSE and S-100B is shown in people who went without sleep for just one night.
The second item concerned scientific research that indicates that people with religious belief have ‘thicker’ sections of brain. These thicknesses enhance a person’s resistance to depression.
Both of these studies have implications for writers – well, this particular one, anyway. When I’m committed to disciplined writing, I’m inclined to both sleeplessness and bouts of low spirits. I’ve been known to sit up all night to write and that can cause me to be pretty tired and ‘low’ the next day - especially so, if I’m not happy with what I’ve written, in which case I could sink into a real ‘slough of despond’ (thank you, Mr Bunyan; no one has described it better!). But generally speaking, I no longer descend that far, because a faith-based outlook has been my preferred option for many years now. In those years before I had faith in Jesus Christ I often found it difficult to get out of bed, let alone muster confidence to put pen to paper.
So, there I have it. To write efficiently I need to make sure I get a good night’s sleep, and then, so I don’t get depressed about how the work is progressing, I need to keep faith in the God who loved me enough to die for me. Simple, isn't it?