Jacques Derrida and Stephen King on sleeping when not writing

Aug 10, 2012 | Writing Convolutes

I’m tempted to say this is true of any vocation. If you don’t work at whatever it is you work at…

That is to say, when I don’t write, there is a very strange moment when I go to sleep. When I have a nap and I fall asleep. At that moment, in a sort of half sleep, all of a sudden I’m terrified by what I’m doing. And I tell myself: ‘You’re crazy to write this!’ ‘You’re crazy to attack such a thing!’ ‘You’re crazy to criticize such and such a person.’ ‘You’re crazy to contest such an authority, be it textual, institutional, or personal.’ And there is a kind of panic in my subconscious.

— from Derrida (2002) deleted scene.


The truth is that when I’m writing, I write every day, workaholic dweeb or not. That includes Christmas, the Fourth, and my birthday (at my age you try to ignore your goddam birthday anyway). And when I’m not working, I’m not working at all, although during those periods of full stop I usually feel at loose ends with myself and have trouble sleeping.

— from Stephen King in On Writing (2000)