The biggest reason I don’t write as often as I should is that many nights I’m too tired to write. It’s frustrating to read about other writers who stay up until 4 in the morning or people who give up everything so they have time to write.
I seriously don’t understand how these people manage this. I do wonder if they have a spouse who picks up all the extra chores so they can be free. Not everyone has this luxury.
Here’s the thing, I like to sleep. If I don’t get at least seven hours, I’m super grumpy and have a hard time focusing. So the 4 o’clock thing doesn’t work for me. Not with a full-time job and a family that I’d prefer not to ignore. I usually cook dinner and clean up. I like a clean house, maybe a little too much. And many nights I’m up at the school sitting in my car, waiting.
I get up before 6, and many nights I don’t get home until 6:30. After cooking dinner and cleaning up and taking the dog out, that leaves me with only a short time to write. But after going all day, I like to rest. I also like to exercise, play with our animals, crochet, sew, and read. I get exhausted just thinking about all of it.
Some days, I feel like I could sleep for a week.
This isn’t about time management. When I’m exhausted like this, it feels like a chore to open my computer. And when I do, I stare at the page, my mind counting down the minutes until bedtime.
Managing through tiredness
I haven’t mastered this yet. However, I have found a few tricks I’ve started using.
- Make time to rest. I am often up and doing things; walking the dog, cleaning, cooking, making lunch, etc. I have found if I make time to rest, really rest. Put the phone away, rest, I have more energy.
- Let go of the feeling I have to do everything. Stress is a big factor. If I can let it go, I’m not as tired.
- Be health conscious. Drink water, exercise, eat lean and green. This makes me feel better overall.
- Ask for help. I’ve been asking my husband to pitch in more. If I make dinner I ask him to clean up and vice versa. I also ask him to pick up our daughter at least once a week.
- Open the computer anyway. There is a saying about the gym. Don’t decide whether or not to go to the gym until you’ve changed into your gym clothes. The same goes for writing. I don’t decide not to write until I open the computer.
- Set a goal and stick to it. Realistic goals are important for any project. A goal should be something achievable on a normal week, with actionable tasks, and measurable.
Not every writer will be able to write a book in a month. I’ve come to the terms that I’m one of them. And that’s okay. The bottom line is to keep pushing ahead at the fastest pace I can. I will get to my destination eventually.
I’m sure many of you feel the same. It’s okay to take time to care for yourself before diving back into your writing.
How about you? What sort of tips do you have?