How many times have you sat down at your computer and worked way too late into the night writing a paper or grant only to find that in the cold light of day that ‘roll’ you were on the evening has the clarity of… milk.

Milk with sludge in it.

Sludge you can’t see through.

You’ve destroyed your prior work with irrational connections, ill-conceived plans and phrases that made perfect sense at 2 am. In your current state, your document is sure make even the most generous reviewers flip through the list of potential mental disorders you probably have that made you put together this many harebrained ideas.

Here’s what that next morning looks like in five universally* accepted phases:

1. Fuego!

You sit down at the computer excited to work. Phrases like, ‘this is gonna be good!’ run through your head. You were on fuego last night!!

2. The Confused Dog Phase.

Hmm. That’s odd. You’re having a bit of confusion that roughly looks like this cute guy

What you’re reading isn’t making sense. You delude yourself that maybe your are just missing something like, a verb, and it will all come together.

3. The Technical Glitch Phase. 

This is the point where you flail a bit and  hope that maybe there’s another version somewhere where you saved the actual genius ideas. Because there were so many genius ideas. And now there aren’t.

4. A Little Bartering with God. 

Frankly, I find that it doesn’t really matter what religion you are or even if you are a straight-up atheist. You will find God now. This manifests as the inevitable pleading to your new Savior. You know you messed up and you swear you will adopt one of those animals Sarah McLachlan wants you to commit to for just 80 cents a day. “God”, you barter, “I’ll even up it to a full buck. If You could please share a file with a speck of the genius from last night.”

5. Crying.

There is a lot of crying in this phase.

Save yourself some angst. Take all that nervous ‘can’t go to sleep’ energy and read a book. Do some yoga stretches. Jot down notes for tomorrow. Organize your clothes. Whatever you can to make your morning easier. These things always pay off. But writing into the wee hours is unsustainable and not productive for most of us.

Sleep, on the other hand, is a winner. Go get some.

* Yes, universally. We are Legion! We have checked with everyone in the entire universe. Who reads stuff in the asterisks area as a reference on a blog anyway. Okay….not universal! Dammit! It was a joke. Hyperbole, if you will. You should really be working on something other than this right now. Go on, get back to work. Or leave a comment or something, but have some pride and move on. Shoo!

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