Insomnia comes in many forms and if you recognise one of these, I have an idea for you.

  • Struggle to fall asleep because your brain goes into overload
  • Fall asleep exhausted, only to wake up around two in the morning and then really struggle to get to sleep again
  • Wake up at five and not be able to get back to sleep but don’t want to wake up the family so you lie in bed with a brain full of ideas screaming for attention

I have suffered from insomnia all my life. I use the Insomniacs A-Z technique which I have blogged about before. The technique works most nights, however, there have been occasions when my brain will just not ‘shut up’.

If you don’t have a laptop, then write by hand in a notebook

I have found that writing is an excellent way to distract my thoughts from things that are preventing me from sleeping.

Writing is cheap, you don’t have to invest in a laptop or strain your eyes using your smartphone. Use a pen and notebook that you can carry with you. Jot things down when you are waiting for a bus/train/appointment. Perhaps even keep a diary if you do not do so already.

Writing is easy. Simply put the words down on a page. Write as you would speak, don’t worry about punctuation, grammar and spelling. Write about whatever you are interested in. Authors edit out most of their original drafts so simply call your work a “DRAFT!”

If you surprise yourself and discover you have a talent for writing, learn how to edit. There are great free courses available on the internet that will teach you how to edit and write in a more constructive way.

There are also writing groups on Facebook and physical ones all over the world. Most public libraries will know of groups in their area, or simply Google “Writing Groups near me”.

Make yourself a notebook to help you with your writing. Put ideas for stories, characters, places and situations that you observe in there so that you can use them later once you begin to write

Writing suggestions to get you started:

  • Funny things that have happened to family members and friends
  • Compile a short history of your family’s origins
  • Write a short story about a situation that happened in your life where you are able to turn a negative into a positive
  • Make up a story about something that interests you
  • Become a ‘people watcher’ and try writing short stories about people you observe in your daily commute of when in the coffee shop
  • Join a free online writing course. (Recently I had fun doing this one https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/start-writing-fiction)
Take yourself out for coffee and enjoy ‘people watching’. Don’t forget to take notes!

The thing about writing, once you begin you can train your brain to think about the story that you are working on rather than all those niggling thoughts that usually rush into your mind as soon as your head hits the pillow.

There is the added bonus of having an excuse to lie in bed and read because reading is research for writers. Make time to read those old books that your grandmother cherished/hoarded – you mind find some gems in them.

Warning
Possible Writing side effects:

  • It can become addictive
  • It is huge fun especially if you join a writing group and share your work with like-minded people
  • Reading books expands your mind, and when your children see you reading books they tend to want to read books too
  • You may find yourself visiting opportunity shops and spending very little money on exciting pre-loved books
  • Libraries become wonderful airconditioned places to write in peace if you don’t get too distracted by the books…

Writing gives you a perfectly acceptable excuse to have some important “ME TIME” – give it a go.