I usually work on my writing late at night. For some reason I'm wide awake then, and it is the only quiet time at my house. The kids are in bed, the husband is watching TV, and all is right with the world.
The problem comes in the early evening. After a long day at work telling middle school students to sit down and keep their hands to themselves, I get to come home, check my kids' homework and make them dinner. When that's done, I sit down to write and promptly... fall asleep.
You'd think after all these years I would have learned it long ago, but I only just figured it out two weeks ago. Chewing gum will wake me up. With all the late nights over the Christmas break editing and writing, I had cause to find this out.
The stupid thing is that as a teacher I have known that research shows letting the students chew gum during a test helps them to focus better and think more clearly. Why the heck didn't I ever think to try it myself? Well, I'm really not much of a gum chewer, that's why. Ever since college, chewing gum has hurt my jaws -- they snap and crack and make all manner of noise.
However, now that I've realized the benefits (staying awake and alert while editing and writing, the vast improvement in the quality of my writing, and not falling asleep while driving), I'm pretty sure the cracking and the snapping is a small price to pay.
I'm feeling a little sleepy right now. I think I'll go grab a stick of gum.