How to get Creative in Bed

indexcreativebed“I can’t get no satisfaction I can’t get no satisfaction
‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can’t get no, I can’t get no” -The Rolling Stones

The Stones aren’t the only ones who can’t get any satisfaction. Neither could I as I sat, for over an hour, facing a white page and blinking cursor. I typed a line. I deleted. I typed another line. I read it. I reread it. I deleted half. I added a new word. I deleted it all.

Frustrated, I browsed websites to clear my mind. After spending twenty minutes of looking at pictures of unlikely animal friendships (cat and mouse best friends? Crazy!) and purchasing another pair of yoga pants (I don’t need), I went back to my blank page.


Irritated, I left the room. I loaded the dishwasher, folded a load of laundry, and picked up some toys (the perks and drawbacks to working from home).

With something accomplished, I felt productive. Hoping this would translate to my writing, I once again sat down in front of my computer. I mouthed a few lines. Typed. Deleted. Sighed. Typed. Damn, nothing.

My characters were quiet. My thoughts were loud. Especially the insidious little voice in my mind that wickedly whispers, “You can’t do this. Just quit.”

Ignoring this negative thought, I continued.

Slowly, hours passed. I glanced at the clock to see that half my workday was done. Baffled as to where the time had gone, I reviewed my work. There was only half a page!

So, I had written almost nothing. I am writer who didn’t write. Exhausted and feeling as though I had failed, I closed my laptop.

I made dinner; gave baths, and read bedtime stories while holding tightly to my frustration and doubt. Soup was poured while I tried to untangle a plot line. I soaped up a small face while considering a character change. Nothing. Sigh.

Worn-out, I gratefully crawled into bed. As I lay there, lines and lines of words perfectly paired flowed without thought. Plot lines unraveled and characters were effortlessly created and perfectly drawn. And dialogue, as though previously scripted and memorized, freely coursed through my mind.

What? Where were all these ideas and lines when I was in front of my computer?

I considered what I should do.

Get out of bed and write? I was so tired and comfortable that this option seemed unreasonable.

Mentally review the words and set them to memory? Yes, much more practical. After all, I would remember.

I didn’t.

Not a word. Well, some words but here I sit again trying to piece together a puzzle that is missing some important pieces.

If this happens to you, know you are in good company. Many artists have experienced this phenomena like Keith Richards who came up with the legendary words, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” after waking up in the middle of the night and Paul McCartney who in the middle of sleep, woke and went to his piano and played one of the most covered songs in history, “Yesterday.”

If you are interested in the cause, read the article by Tanner Christensen called, “Why You’re more Creative at Night.”

But if you are simply a frustrated writer who like me has an incomplete novel and deadlines, you want a solution.

Here it is: You can either…

Get up, write then go back to bed.

Comfortably snuggled in bed, it won’t be easy but here is what I know–the warm blanket will still be there when you get back but, by morning, the words won’t.

Or you can…

Nestle in a pile of blankets with your computer, rest your fingers on the keys and lightly close your eyes. Your laptop makes for an odd bedfellow but a great way to get creative in bed.

4 thoughts on “How to get Creative in Bed

  1. This happens so much! Every time i lay down to sleep, be it in the night or in the evening, if i start to think about any article or story I have to write, I get this huge burst of words stringed together so perfectly. But the moment I wake up and go to write them, my tiredness takes over and somehow, even though the words are there, they don’t come out as easily or seem as beautiful as they used to be.

    1. This is a dilemma for many writers! I have actually taken my phone with me so that I can text the ideas or paragraphs to myself. There is something about the moment when one allows his or her brain to slow down that the ideas are free to flourish. It has been scientifically documented and experienced. So know we know it is true, we must find a way to capitalize on these free moment of creativity. I think that the daily pressures and the strain to write under certain conditions can be stunting. As writers, we must find a way to allow these ideas to flow even when faced with a computer and a white screen. Personally, I am still working on it!

  2. I do this all the time.

    In grad school, my room was so small, there was no room for a “desk”, so I propped myself up with pillows and went from there.

    Beds have more horizontal space for reference materials, anyway.

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About Sherry Parnell

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