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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,


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