Here are my Tried-and-True Tips for How to Wake Yourself Up When It’s Saturday Morning and You’re Drifting on the Couch and the Clock is Ticking and You Have Just Two Days to Write and Sleep Is Not an Option:
- Keep a lamp on, shining down directly in your face; it’s extremely uncomfortable, and hot in the summer.
- Set an alarm in the bedroom, an alarm in the living room, and a cell phone alarm wherever you left the thing and hope you didn’t have it on silent or else you won’t hear it anyway.
- Leave a hard-backed book on the couch, wedged in under your hip, and don’t dare knock it to the floor to let yourself get comfortable.
- Picture your morning coffee—mine is chocolate-flavored, but choose whatever flavor you want—and try to taste it filling up your mouth, running down your throat—what? That makes you start to choke? Good. Then maybe you’ll sit up.
- Make yourself feel dirty (um, literally, like with mud or spilled pea soup all over you, stuck in your hair, seeping into your ears and between your toes). Grossed out? Perfect! If you feel disgusting enough you might force yourself up to get in the shower.
- If you start to dream, use all your strength to insert awful and horrible images that make you want to desperately wake up and stop dreaming: images such as the ENORMOUS cockroach you accidentally, in a panic, crushed on the street while running from it (I must have good aim); scary movies; scary politicians; raw meat.
- Proceed with half-asleep guilt trips that make you feel like a big nothing. “You will never make it as a writer if you don’t get up off this couch right this minute, loser” can work, but only if you don’t know you’re bluffing and only if you don’t depress yourself too much and start to cry.
- Move one leg to the floor so you are half on the couch, half off; it might take a while, but at some point you will slip off the couch and will fall to the floor below. It could hurt, but the impact should wake you up (as well as your downstairs neighbors, but maybe they need to get up to write too?).
- Gathering up all your strength and every ounce of faith you have inside you, pray… for a telemarketer to call.