Solution to Writing Obstacle No. 15:

“I have terrible insomnia and therefore foggy mornings, so writing is tough.”

If you have life-long insomnia, no doubt you’ve tried everything already.

And it would be annoying for me to suggest you look up the information about sleep hygiene (such as avoiding caffeine after noon; having a bedroom that is totally dark, cool, quiet, and without a tv; no screens for two hours before bed; and so on).

So, I will simply say: my sympathies.

However, if insomnia is relatively new for you, or uncommon for you, I have two suggestions.

Someone once told me that he loved an occasional sleepless night because he had so many novels he wanted to read that he prized the extra time. He really lit up talking about it; it’s clear that he saw as a good thing what many see as the bane of their existence. And he had a 9 to 5 job, so it wasn’t like he was cheating and sleeping in. His way of thinking about occasional insomnia as an opportunity proves that how we think about things can be the real problem.

 After that, I tried to follow him in embracing insomnia rather than resisting it. I stopped tossing and turning, put on the light, picked up a popular genre novel (nothing heavy), and read until I felt sleepy. For me, ignoring the clock was key. If I knew I had fallen asleep after 3:00 am, the day was dreadful. If I had only a vague idea of when I fell asleep, I quickly forgot and the day was fine. So, I make sure no clock face is visible from my bed. Which means, that I read not on a phone, but a print novel or on a Kindle (which also emits no light).

Solution to Writing Obstacle No. 15, one of the health obstacles listed on page 31 of Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success (University of Chicago Press, 2019).