60. Too Tired to Write

Family, friends, job, business, self care, errands, social life!

You have so much on your plate already and sometimes, you’re just too tired to write.

The bad news is there are often times when you don’t feel your best but you still  really need to write to meet a deadline or finish a project.

The good news is in this episode, I share specific strategies to get back to writing—even when you’re too tired to write.

Mentioned in This Episode

Jump-Start: A free guide to help you jump-start your nonfiction book.

Short Books: Big Results

Episode Transcript

Hey there and welcome to Nothing but the Words. I’m your author coach, Candice L Davis.

I hope your week and your writing are going well.

My coaching clients tend to be high-achieving individuals.

Some of them have reached a point where they’re running businesses worth multiple six figures or even multiple seven figures.

They’ve set themselves up so that their businesses run without them most of the time.

And so they have plenty of time to write.

Most of my clients, however, aren’t in that space—at least, not yet.

They have day jobs, or they’re running a smaller business, or in many cases, they have a nine-to-five with a business on the side. In fact, many of my clients are writing their books as a part of pivoting from employee to entrepreneur full time.

Bottom line: these authors are busy.

But they’re ambitious, driven people, and they want to write the book they feel called to write.

They don’t want to delay their book or any other project they’re working on at the moment.

Recently, one of the clients in my group program, Short Books: Big Results, asked in the Facebook group, “How do you write when you’re exhausted?”

My answer to her was: “I don’t.”

Now, don’t get me wrong.

There are times when I have to pull a late night and I write past those feelings of sleepiness or being just plain tired.

But when I’m truly exhausted—like after I’ve put in a couple of 90-hour weeks for a big project, I don’t try to write.

Exhaustion depletes my creativity. 

I can’t focus when I’m tired. And it’s just not fun.

Rather than try to write through it, I try to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Let me be clear that I’m not talking about the kind of exhaustion that puts you in bed for a week.

If you’re that burned out, if you’ve been subsisting on 4 hours of sleep per night for a couple of months, or you’re nodding in front of your laptop screen, it’s time to put your book aside.

Get the rest and recovery you need to function in your daily life before you worry about writing your book.

I’m talking about the kind of exhaustion you feel when you’ve been up half the night with a cranky toddler or a sick friend.

The kind of exhaustion you feel when you’ve been putting in long hours at work but can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

You don’t need a two-week vacation. You just need some rest.

It’s not the end of the world, but the problem with trying to write through it is that you end up spending hours writing something you could’ve written in just a few minutes.

Your thoughts are muddled.

You have trouble focusing, coming up with ideas, and making connections.

Here are four ways to recover from this type of exhaustion and get back to writing at your best.

Energizer #1. Take a nap. 

A few years ago, my mastermind coach, Liz Scully of Rethink Central—who is absolutely brilliant at master-minding—got tired of me whining about how worn out I was.

Liz told me about a study done by NASA to determine how to take an ideal nap—a nap that will combat fatigue and let you wake up refreshed and ready to be attentive and productive.

The recommendation was to have a cup of coffee and then nap for 20 minutes.

The idea is that the caffeine will kick in and give you a boost just as you’re waking up.

I’m a coffee drinker, so I do take NASA naps, and I’ve found them to be very effective for me.

Everybody’s different, but if you’re sleepy or feeling fatigued, some kind of short nap is a great option.

Even if you don’t fall asleep, lying still with your eyes closed and some quiet music or ambient noise playing can help you recharge.

Energizer #2. Eat nutrient-rich foods at every meal.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all know how food affects our energy levels.

If you’ve ever fallen asleep after Thanksgiving dinner, you know what I mean.

But just like some foods can make you sleepy, others can give you renewed energy.

For me, those foods include green juices, fruits, and big salads.

Anything you might consider junk food and any meal heavy on the grains have the opposite effect on me.

They make me sluggish.

Pay attention to the foods you eat and how they make you feel.

And then choose the foods that will support you through your writing session.

Energizer #3. Get out and get some sunlight. 

Obviously, I’m not giving you medical advice, and I’m not telling you to lay out in the sun and get a tan.

But going outside for even just 10 minutes a day can help you replenish your energy.

Getting fresh air and time in nature—even in your backyard—can improve your mood and increase your energy.

And small amounts of sun exposure can boost your levels of serotonin—a hormone some people call the happy chemical—which can help stabilize your mood and improve your focus.

When I’m really waning, I’ll take my laptop outside, find a place where it’s not facing the sun, turn the screen brightness up all the way and write for an hour or so.

Writing outside never fails me. 

Energizer #4. Clear your to-do list as much as possible. Rely on your team.

Get rid of distractions like social media and Netflix, of course.

But I’m also talking about delaying or delegating the things you consider your own duties or your responsibility.

My husband and I are both writers, so over the years, we’ve recognized that if one of us has a deadline, the other one might have to pick up the slack.

I shirked all kinds of duties—everything from driving the kids to school to making dinner, grocery shopping, cleaning anything at all, and more. And so has he.

And my husband wasn’t the only one who had to pick up my work around the house.

So did the kids.

We’re a team and we help each other in this family.

If you don’t have an in-house team, or they’re not on board with the program just yet, I highly recommend paying for help.

Order take-out or buy prepared or super-easy-to-prepare meals. 

Have a housekeeper come in every other week. 

Pay somebody to do the thing you don’t have time to do so you can do what matters.

Those are 4 strategies I use that you can try when you’re too tired to write.

Make your book a priority, implement one or more of those strategies, and keep writing to the end.

That’s it for this episode, my friends.

For more writing tips and inspiration, follow me on IG @candiceldavis. 

Thanks for listening to Nothing but the Words. I’m Your Author Coach, Candice L Davis. And I’ll see you next time.

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