Finding the Energy to Write

Sunday 21 September 2014 by

Writing, Flower, Book, Ink, Fountain pen, House of Blog

I’ve talked about finding the time to read and write before, but sometimes even when you have time you don’t have the energy. It can be a real challenge to use your time effectively, and sometimes to even feel in the mood to sit down and write.

I’ve been struggling with this a lot myself lately. I’ve started a new job that involves sitting in front of a computer all day. The last thing I want to do when I get home is sit in front of the computer some more. I want to go out and run, walk, do anything except sit.

As well as this, I’ve struggled with the change in routine. Doing anything new, learning any new skill takes it out of you mentally, and starting a new job has been a steep learning curve for me. My brain has been like soft cheese every night for the first few weeks. I’m getting better now, getting more into the rhythm of things, but it’s been a real struggle to keep going with projects outside of work. Including writing shorter things like blog posts and posts for HoB (sorry Fran!) I just haven’t had the energy or the brainpower for anything.

So what can you do in this situation?

 1. Wait it out

… And try not to feel too bad about it. You want to be writing every single day. You want to be progressing your projects. You want to feel you’re achieving something. But sometimes you have to acknowledge that you aren’t going to win every battle at once, and that something has to give. Maybe that’s your social life at times, the cleanliness of your house. Sometimes it will be your writing.

This has generally been the approach I’ve taken. I’m finally starting to catch up with myself now, and I’m eager to put fingers to keyboard. It has been hard to leave things to stew in the back of my mind, but I know if I’d written any more than I have done in the past couple of weeks, it would have been utter tripe anyway. Concentrating on things with deadlines and letting everything else slip meant I could just about keep on top of stuff without having to submit anything below a par I’m comfortable with. My fiction has suffered, but it will still be there when I’m ready to get back to it.

2. Carry a notebook everywhere

Good advice for writers in general, but definitely something to follow when you’re lacking energy. Having a notebook to jot down ideas when they come to you, ready to pick up when the energy is back will save you losing any good thoughts that come to mind.

Also, if you do find yourself caught in a moment of inspiration and want to write, you aren’t limited by whether or not you have access to your laptop or preferred writing device. You can capture that energy while it lasts and put it to good use. The double benefit of this is it gives you something to type up later, and you never know – if you start with something easy like typing up notes, your brain might just settle into the rhythm and keep going.

3. Look after your body and mind

Don’t spend hours staring at a blank screen and feeling bad about yourself. It’s not going to help anything. A poor night’s sleep isn’t going to fix the tiredness that’s making you struggle so much. When things start to grow stagnant, go for a walk, do some exercise. It’s more likely to get your brain moving again than sitting around. A bit of extra bloodflow might be just what you need. And if not, never mind. You’ve done something constructive and good for you, and you might start to feel the effects tomorrow or the next day.

You have to give your brain the best chance to get back on track. Squeezing it tighter when it’s already wrung out isn’t going to produce good results.

4. Be prepared to advance your work in other ways

I’ve had very little inclination to sit in front of a computer screen lately, yes, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had lots of time to think about my project. I’ve imagined scenes, experimented with scenarios in my head. I can do this in the car on the way to work, before I get bogged down in learning new stuff. For that forty-five minutes, I’ve got nothing else I can be doing besides driving and thinking. It’s not putting words on the page, but when I do sit down to write, I will have plenty of ideas to work on.

If you’re an artist, why not draw the characters? Find pictures on the internet. Make playlists of songs, draw maps, make character profiles. Do whatever you like to do to keep the world of the story alive in your head and maybe even advance your understanding of it in some ways. It’s using a different part of your brain, and doesn’t feel as high pressure as committing words to paper, but it’s just as valuable.

You can follow Loralei on Twitter: @LAHaylock

Related Posts

Share This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *