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Is rest important for the writer?

Descartes, certainly a productive genius, slept for ten hours a night, and insisted that he thought hard for a few hours each year. “I have consecrated all the rest of my life to relaxation and rest.”

In an informal survey of writers, the large majority slept more than 7 hours a night.  Hardly anyone got less than 7 hours.  Less than 7 hours can cause depression and makes the person accident-prone.

Truman Capote rarely got out of bed.  The author of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood” wrote  lying down, in bed or on a couch, with a cigarette and coffee. He wrote his first and second drafts in longhand, in pencil. His third draft, typed, would be done in bed — with the typewriter balanced on his knees.

Like any major undertaking, rest, good nutrition and exercise help.  Whether it is writing or performing in a classical music concert, being in good shape helps produce a strong performance.

I think my own output has suffered because I do not get very good sleep with fibromyalgia and despite medication, I awake several times a night.  Also, I did not have a vacation last year.  So I hope that with the upcoming month in Panama, next year may be far more productive than this one.

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