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When You Are Too Tired to Write

too tired to writeHave you ever felt you were simply too tired to write? I suspect we all have. I’ve also come to believe there are two approaches to those situations:

Pretend I’m a Navy Seal?

According to my Executive Coach, Navy Seals never quit. I extrapolate that means they never miss a deadline.

Although I appreciate what the Seals do for us – and since I’m often at a beach in Coronado I’ve actually seen a tiny bit of their action – I know darn well I’m not a Seal, or anything close. I rarely, really rarely miss writing deadlines. I learned to make them long before I realized many other writers didn’t, and just kept up the practice. Like so many things in life I simply stumbled into that attitude and decided to keep it.

Take a nap

I love naps! Sometimes naps are an excuse for reading in bed. Sometimes I take them because for whatever reason I’m tired – and sometimes I use them just as a way to take a break.

When my mind is fuzzy with fatigue, my writing is flat, even stilted and I can hardly spell my name. I seem to hit a personal wall at about four in the afternoon – that’s when I start feeling stupid. A client had wanted corrections after that time and I told him no, I’d be up early and do them when I was fresh. I understood we didn’t have a publication deadline, just the sooner the better. And it was much easier to do it right. I find over and over again I can write (including effective editing) no more than four hours a day. Which turns out to be enough. I suspect it’s what writers who work inside corporations actually get done… the rest is interruptions that we freelancers rarely get.

Sometimes we do have to push through. Often clients ask us to rush and I almost always push back on that. Their reasons for wanting me to write in a rushed fashion generally have more to do with their problems than problems I’ve created. If they insist, I charge more.

If I am the cause I’ll do my darnedest to get it done, even if I’m feeling too tired to write. Then I plan the downtime I need for later in the day or week.

Ultimately it’s about taking care of ourselves

While being too tired to write happens, if it happens a lot it’s because somehow we’re neglecting ourselves. Maybe we’re over scheduling, or trying to cram too much into an hour as it were. Or maybe we’ve picked up a bad eating habit (sugar does this too me regardless of the season) or let go of the exercise we need. I can, of course, mean we need that down time to re-create ourselves. Recreation isn’t a luxury.

What say you about being too tired to write? Share your ideas in comments.

Want a call from me? Take advantage of an absolutely no cost Strategy Session and I’ll call you with the results. We’ll chat a bit.

Write well and often,


{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Howard Steele January 25, 2017, 5:59 am

    As a blog writer, I should admit that it’s normal to get tired of writing from time to time, but this should not be repeated on a regular basis. If it is, then it’s definitely the signal that you need a change in your schedule, lifestyle, amount of articles you write every day and what not.

    • Anne Wayman January 26, 2017, 8:06 am

      I agree, Howard. It may even be a signal to try some other kind of career. Or not.

  • Abubakkar Sithik January 2, 2017, 4:22 am

    Great Post! I agree this.

  • Jolene Ejmont December 29, 2016, 5:19 pm

    I really wish that I could power nap, I think this is a skill that I will need to develop. I have a baby, so I understand the ‘too tired to write’ phrase oh to well!!

    • Anne Wayman December 30, 2016, 8:20 am

      I’ve never really understood Power naps… and with a baby you sure do know! How well I remember.

  • John Soares December 28, 2016, 9:09 am

    Anne, I’m a huge fan of the power nap. I take a 20-minute nap most afternoons, and I set a timer so I can really let myself fall asleep.

    • Anne Wayman December 30, 2016, 8:21 am

      So John, how much sleep do you actually get? Or how much of that time is spend waiting for sleep to happen?

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