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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
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Sleep Is
For The Weak

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Let's Panic

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it.

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« Bear with me. | Main | Setting the record straight. »
Thursday
Nov082007

On the other hand, I'm extremely well-rested.

I exhibit several inappropriate responses to stress: laughing, peeing, falling down, suffering shooting pains in my head. One of the most annoying ones is falling asleep. This usually strikes when I’m writing. While I’m laboring to get some words down on the damn page, I get freaked that what I’m writing is no good, that it will never be any good, that I’m incapable of putting together a sentence that anyone would give a damn about. And then my eyelids clamp shut and I’m drooling on my shirt. This feeling can overtake me while I’m writing just about anything, but at least these days I manage to stay awake while composing thank-you notes or a shopping list. But writing a book, just to use a hypothetical sort of example with no basis in reality, will immediately catapult me into unconsciousness. This is infuriating, and yet even my rage doesn’t seem to perk me up. I can be railing against my useless defense mechanisms and then before I finish my sentence I’m kayaking with my dead grandmother and she’s hucking Stella D’Oro Breakfast Treats at me.

Wow, that’s a dream I wish I’d had. I made that up, right there. But probably I could have come up with something better, crap, what if I wrote, hmm, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Reader Comments (29)

Ah, yes. Writing my masters' thesis was the most sleep I ever got.
November 8, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWeeze
Good god, woman. Stop with the funny! Between this post and the one about your trying to get out of your seat still buckled in, you're going to get me fired!
November 8, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAlesia
Alice! You are a Great Human Being.I so totally sympathise. A few tips that have worked for me in similar situations:

1. downgrading the importance of the work I'm doing in my own eyes / telling myself I can write whatever crap because I'll revise it later. The purpose of this is to defeat the perfectionism / impostor syndrome.

2. squeezing some lime juice into water. Wakes you up like a slap on the face! Only more pleasant.

3. rosemary. The scent is great for memory and revitalisation. One way to release it is to vapourise a few drops of rosemary EO in an oil burner.
November 8, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnna
Nothing like the pressure of NaBloPoMo to drive one to unconsciousness.
November 8, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJoe
Stella D'Oro breakfast treats. What is it with Grammas and those things? And tea? with lots of milk and sugar?

But I bet Cookie makes a darned good pillow, right?
November 8, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRee
I hear ya. I don't fall asleep (that would be nice sometimes) but I usually give up, hit post and publish the craptacular writing, and then try not to stress about how much I suck at writing.

I'd opt for the sleeping.
November 8, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKristabella
"Useless defense mechanisms"? Hardly. This clearly evolved in your People as a response to prehistoric threats from bears. Bear charges, your ancestor faints, bear wanders off.

Okay, fine, I guess it's useless NOW. But still.
November 8, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterbraine
Totally get this. I can write something and then I have to revise and revise some more and then revise again and then toss it aside because it's just crap and where did I ever get the idea that I could write anything?

I think that's why I enjoy blogging so much. I'm not doing it to be serious or get published or anything like that. I get to be myself and not worry about things like dialouge or write what you know or anything annoying.
November 8, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDM
Sleep? I am so jealous. My response to writing stress is CARBS. Preferably salty and crunchy, but sweet and pastry-like will do, too. By the time I complete this gigantic vomit of words I call a book, I won't even be able to enjoy that it's finished: I'll be too busy weeping hysterically over the twenty pounds added to my ass.
November 8, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPaula
You worry about what YOU are going to put on the page? B-b-but, you're brilliant.
November 8, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAll Adither
i'm jealous! while i am sure that that isn't much fun...i would never fall asleep like that. i've always been envious of people who could easily catch a bit of shut eye on the sly.
November 8, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterchristina(peonyshade)
I've had two beers and I think that's why the concept of Stella Doro Breakfast Treats is so completely frigging hilarious to me right now.
November 8, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermidwestgrrl
Part of what makes you such a great writer is the ability to write something in a way that we totally identify with. Another thing? That whole making stuff up on the spot that no one else could possibly compete with.

Snooze on woman, you deserve the nap.
November 8, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSleeping Mommy
It seems that I've been having varied physical responses to stress, however, since they don't work, they move onto the next thing. You see, I'm raising two special needs kids, helping take care of my elderly parents next door, working full time, and writing part-time. My stress isn't going away. So, it's like my body rebels... "Oh yeah? How about THIS?" So It used to have rashes. Then back spasms. There was a sleeping phase. Now I have an eye twitch that hasn't gone away in a week. My body is apparently at war with myself. I'm sure there's some kind of deep meaningful message in there somewhere, but I'm too tired to find it.
November 8, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermichele
I'm going to quote Anna here:1. downgrading the importance of the work I'm doing in my own eyes / telling myself I can write whatever crap because I'll revise it later. The purpose of this is to defeat the perfectionism / impostor syndrome.

Totally! This is grind out a post a day month, not pee perfume month.The prize is for doing the post per day for a month. It isn't the Pulitzer Prize, or even the Giller (sly Canuck reference here)

I so enjoy your writing, but I don't expect jewels each and every day, just to make a connection. You succeed in making the connection.

Now go have a nice margarita ;)

November 8, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterwitchypoo
Pulling my nostril hairs will:- Bring immediate tears to my eyes- Immediately send me into a sneezing fit.

Both of which will jolt me into awake-ness.

I think I will stick to coffee though...
November 8, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJLow
Stress does just the opposite to me. Keeps me awake worrying. I'd love it if it made me fall asleep!
November 8, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterann
Okay, commenter Paula?

I think you should know that things could be worse. I totally thought you said "My response to writing stress is CRABS."

And I was all, "Doesn't somebody else usually have to be involved for that to happen?"
November 8, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
Believe. When that doesn't work, do a shot/have a glass of wine/drink a beer. And screw it.
November 8, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMs Picket
Yours is the best damn blog on the internet.
November 9, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterViv
Obviously, the whole drooling thing is workin' for ya, honey...your writing is great and your blog is a hoot!

Don't mess with a proven formula...no matter how ugly.
I pretty much slept through my recent moving process. Every time I'd start to pack, I'd start getting unbelievably tired. I'd tell myself I would only rest for a bit. Eleven hours later, I'd have lost another evening of packing.

Which is why I was the one frantically throwing things into boxes on the day of the move. Not usually my speed, but it was the first time I ever had to pack by myself and the first time I ever moved with a toddler.

Long story short - I get you on the mysterious urge to sleep.
November 9, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterwyliekat
Mmmm, sleep. I wish naps during the boredom that is work were officially sanctioned.
November 9, 2007 | Unregistered Commentersuperblondgirl
Have you thought about being tested for narcolepsy? (and because this is the internet, that was a joke.)
November 9, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterErika
Wow! You can even be funny in just 3 short paragraphs. Maybe these catnaps fuel your funny.
November 9, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjennifer Kashak

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