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Just ordered “On Writing”… Stephen King’s book on, well, writing.

Pretty excited to get this one in the mail. After seeing this list of all of Stephen King’s books, ranked in order of quality (or awesomeness, if you are my bro-in-law), I just had to place an order.

I like books on writing, especially by highly successful writers. I enjoy reading their perspective of how they harness their creativity, how they push through the dog days of writer’s block, and why they love writing.

The world is filled with writers who just write  to get published and make bazillians of dollars-but there are some out there who are true artists, continually refining their craft– and no matter what their profession, a true artist is inspiring to watch.

I remember when my friends took me to Ruth’s Chris to celebrate an achievement. Our waiter was flat-out amazing. Hands down, the best waiter I’ve ever seen, and to date, the only waiter who mesmerized me. I was captivated, holding onto every word as if it was Bryan Cranston delivering his “intervention” monologue (another artist) . This waiter was an artist who loved his job and every item on the menu… and his descriptions were mouthwatering. I was inspired.  Another inspiring artist you should be familiar with is a film-only photographer,  Jonathan Canlas. His photography inspires me. Follow his blog. Today. If you can, fly him out to wherever you are for a photo shoot. You won’t be disappointed.

I consider Stephen King an artist–though I haven’t enjoyed (or read) all of his books.. but he seems to get better with time, and I can respect that. I’m excited to read this book to see how he has refined his craft, and how he has developed as a writer.

What artists inspire you?


Insomniacs… Anyone? Anyone?

I’ve been a lifelong insomniac.

I’ve sought help through countless books and articles. I’ve tried all kinds of sleep aids:  OTC ones like Melatonin or Unisom, and all kinds of natural solutions…  turkey, herbal tea, peanut butter, warm milk, cheese, forcing myself to get up earlier so I’ll feel sleep sooner… I’ve tried it all.

It’s hard for people who can flip the “brain-off” switch (like my wife) to understand how frustrating it is to go to bed and have your brain kick into overdrive. It’s like my pillow is a thought accelerant. Almost nothing is as aggravating as looking at the clock, seeing a bright red 4:00 AM, and knowing you have to get up in a couple of hours. And aggravation isn’t exactly tryptophan.

In High School, I actually researched sleeping and relaxation techniques–not exactly a book selection I shared with my peers. I learned to exercise selective disclosure after telling a buddy during football practice that I had recently read “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.  The “influence” provoked a healthy round of mockery.  So yeah, I wasn’t about to tell them I was reading about self hypnosis and relaxation.

During the times in my life when I actually DID master the early morning wake-up,  I can’t deny I felt like a million bucks–exercising and studying at 7 AM. I was getting my day started off the right way, and nothing was gonna “break my stride”, a la Matthew Wilder. Would I prefer that? Of course.  Sans the massive mustache of course.

But those times were the exception, not the norm… and I’ve recently embraced my Night Owl-ness. Instead of trying to fall asleep to episodes of Psych or Monk (They work as well as anything. Not intense or gory, but are captivating enough so I don’t think about anything that is truly worrying me–perfect combo for an insomniac) I blog, conduct research, exercise, etc. Then I feel I’m not wasting time–because after-all, those bright eyed bushy-tailed morning people are doing the same thing,  right? But I struggle to view it positively, due to the social stigma associated with having a hard time waking up early.

Sometimes, though, I just have no desire to go to sleep. It’s like I’m 9 again, and I just got sent to bed..and more than anything, I wish I could be up laughing and playing games with my older siblings.  Except, there is no laughter, no party, just some no-deadline time to read, blog, research, etc.

This hits harder Sunday nights. I dread the thought that my weekend, the “my time” portion of the week is over. If I go to sleep, the next thing I know, my alarm is ringing, and I am hitting the snooze button–and I’m off to work where my time isn’t really my own.

So I drag out being awake as long as possible. Like now, here it is at midnight, and I have no desire to call it quits on the weekend. So I’ll finish this post, then read “Term Limits” by Vince Flynn until my eyes start descending like a garage door whose motor has died.

Do any of you have insomnia? Or are you one of “those people” who say they can’t ever sleep past 7 am?  Does your brain click off when your head hits the pillow, or do you start running through your lists and deadline?

And what do you think…should I just embrace being a “night owl”? Or should I try to alter my internal clock so I can feel like I have a more productive morning?

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