Mostly I'm a really good sleeper. My head hits the pillow and I'm out cold.
But sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep. That's when my mind takes me to places I'd rather not go in during daylight hours.
Except that's exactly where I'm going these days (during daylight hours) as I work on my latest book project. For the first time, I'm "mining" material from the most difficult period in my own life: an unhealthy relationship I stayed in for too long.
Earlier this summer, I saw (and blogged about) a wonderful film about children's literature called Library of the Early Mind. In it, children's author and illustrator David Small stressed the importance of writing about the things that keep us up at night. Yesterday, I tried to Google the exact quote, and when I searched for the words "things that keep me up at night" I happened to come across another quote from author Jodi Picoult, who says (like Small): "I write about the things that keep me up at night."
So... if one of these nights, you wake up and having trouble getting back to sleep... perhaps you've also got material for a story that needs telling.