About three and a half weeks ago, our toddler, normally a Very Good Sleeper, decided that good sleeping would be a 2.5 year phase, one with which she was finished. She screamed and kicked her way through bedtime; once she fell asleep, just as *we* were settling into bed or even falling asleep ourselves, she would rise up as if from a horror movie (and for us it was very much a horror movie) and prompt sleep-destroying andrenaline surges on our parts by bursting into our room and announcing she didn't WANT to go to sleep. It was horrible. We hated life. We consulted our baby-sleep bible (we are committed Weissbluthians, and believe me, this book takes commitment--the guy is a terrible writer). Anyway, the toddler section reassured us with a couple of techniques and reminded us of the importance of sticking to our routine. I doubted it. Everyone doubted it. We bickered. We withheld the iPad (she didn't care). We fielded advice--wanted and unwanted--including (commonly) that she needed to be kept awake until 9 or 10 or 11 at night. The thought made us shudder: we didn't stay up that late. So we decided to stick with the method that we believed in, the philosophy of which is pretty simple: 1) sleep begets sleep; and 2) a routine is crucial. Tonight, after several nights in a row of improvement, I think it's safe to say that Weissbluth and his horrid prose didn't fail us. She is now leading us through the sleep routine, which in recent days (in response to the sleep-deprived hell of the previous two weeks) had become even more regimented and predictable. By 6:45, magically, she was asleep. We looked at each other in disbelief. We ran for our computers.
At this point I should stop and make an important caveat, lest I step into a fray I know better than to step into: I don't wish to claim that the "sleep-begets-sleep" applies to all toddlers or babies. The point here is choosing an approach and having some patience with it. Even that doesn't work for everyone, and I'm really sympathetic to those who continue to struggle in the sleep department. It's an awful, awful hell.
Anyway, sometimes the writing we do is an analogous (though perhaps quieter) hell. It's slow-going. The time creeps. Other stuff tries to distract. It grumps us up. Sometimes we give in and depart from habit.
But a daily routine with incremental effort is still the most likely to yield results. 1) Writing begets writing. 2) A routine is crucial.