Patricia Highsmith: Take A Nap

After coming acrossĀ this piece in the Guardian, I’m reading the excellent Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction by Patricia Highsmith. I’ve been highlighting many choice quotes in my kindle, and so far this is perhaps one of the most helpful – and original – bits of writing advice:

But at times I am so tense and tired after dealing with red tape, I feel like taking a nap for fifteen minutes. A nap clears the head wonderfully, besides giving fresh energy. I realize that about half the people in the world cannot nap without feeling logy afterward, but for those who can, a nap is a time-saver, not a time-waster. In my twenties, I had to do my own writing in the evenings, as my days were taken up with jobs or hack work. I got into the habit of napping around six, or of being able to if I wished, and of bathing and changing my clothes. This gave me an illusion of two days in one and made me as fresh for the evening, under the circumstances, as I could possibly be. Problems in writing can come unknotted in a miraculous way after a nap. I go to sleep with the problem, and wake up with the answer.

I like that. I like most anything connected with sleep. I also like this book very much indeed. It should be of use to any writer, and not just writers of suspense.