In many parts of the world, people are forced to do something that is completely absurd: They give up an hour of their lives. And today, we’re turning the pain of sleep loss into writing prompts.
It’s called “Daylight Savings Time,” but it’s more like “Good Night Sleep’s Losing Time.” It’s as if Thanos came to Earth, snapped his fingers, and 1/24th of everyone’s day turned to dust.
Yet as painful as it was to wake up an hour “later” Sunday morning, Daylight Savings Time can be the inspiration to write a story in any genre, from comedic to tragic.
3 Daylight Savings Time Writing Prompts
Ready to turn your loss of sleep into story gain? Here are three Daylight Savings Time-themed writing prompts to get you started:
1. Whose Idea Was This?!
If modern politicians were foolish enough to propose stealing an hour of sleep from the people, they would be laughed out of office. Yet this practice has deep roots in international history.
Thanks to the tilt of the earth and the effect this has on day length throughout the year, the need to adjust our schedules to the sun has always existed. This began long before time as we know it was measured so precisely. Until train schedules demanded on-the-minute clocks, time was treated relative to the people measuring it. For example, ancient Romans used water scales to determine the length of an hour, and it varied based on the time of year.
But the modern origin of Daylight Savings Time is credited to George Hudson, a New Zealander who wanted more sunlight after work so he could keep up his favorite hobby: collecting insects.
Yup. You lost an hour of sleep because a guy had a thing for beetles.
Another politician who can possibly take credit, or blame, is William Willett, an avid golfer who wanted more time out on the links before sunset.
Yet the idea caught on during the energy shortages of the World Wars, as the two warring sides needed to conserve coal and other fuels and adjusted their clocks to take advantage of another hour of sunlight.
Regardless of which story is truest or most responsible for your loss of sleep, one thing is absolutely true: All of these explanations make for interesting story starters!
Writing Prompt #1: Jump into the world of George Hudson, William Willett, or someone close to one of these men. How did their spouses react to their ideas? What kinds of conflict were sewn by their self-interested ideas?
2. Lose Sleep, Lose Your Mind?
Everyone values his or her sleep. Yet we’re rarely getting enough of it.
Like many of you, I can’t function until I’ve had my cup of coffee in the morning. For others, it’s tea, but the point remains: We need caffeine to survive!
Losing sleep isn’t just inconvenient, though: It can be dangerous.
Sleep deprivation can lead to car accidents, personal injury, and more. Just ask any new mother. When you lose too much sleep, you might as well be losing your mind.
With this troublesome fact of life in mind, let’s tackle a fun writing prompt based on this rite of passage (at least for some Americans) that feels more like highway robbery.
Writing Prompt #2: Create a protagonist who is already weary and has just lost another hour of sleep, thanks to Daylight Savings Time. What does he or she want to do? How is the sleep deprivation jeopardizing what they value most?
3. “But It’s Not Dark Out!”
If you have a child under the age of 13, you heard these words recently.
Before having children, Daylight Savings is either a minor inconvenience (like now) or a gift from the heavens (in autumn).
But when you have a little one, Daylight Savings is a mean joke played by a cruel universe.
Not only do the kids have legitimate complaints about bedtime (“It’s not dark out!” “I’m not tired yet!”), but carefully maintained schedules get thrown off, taking the entire week to set right again.
This is especially true if you have a little little one who won’t sleep unless you get him to bed at the exact right time. Thought you had that bedtime schedule right on track, huh? Well, guess what: It’s gone!
Daylight Savings Time not only disrupts our own circadian rhythms; it destroys the painstakingly established schedules we depend on to keep our family lives sane.
This is the perfect setup for a story ripe with conflict, and you can take the narrative in any direction you wish. You can make jokes for a hilarious comedy, or you can introduce tragedy and pain for a drama of the utmost power.
Writing Prompt #3: A single parent of three wakes the morning after Daylight Savings to absolute chaos. How has the time change affected the kids and unleashed anarchy on this delicate family? How will the parent face these challenges with dignity?
Chaos to Story
It’s not pleasant to experience disruption in our lives. But disruption is a crucial ingredient for great story. So whether you love it or hate it, turn the disruption of Daylight Savings Time into a brilliant new story today!
Can you think of any more Daylight Savings Time writing prompts? Share your writing prompt ideas in the comments.
You deserve a great book. That's why David Safford writes adventure stories that you won't be able to put down. Read his latest story at his website. David is a Language Arts teacher, novelist, blogger, hiker, Legend of Zelda fanatic, puzzle-doer, husband, and father of two awesome children.