Thoughts Of an Exhausted Writer Sipping Coffee at 8:16 p.m.


There’s a reason I tell my readers to do as I say, not always as I do.

Some days, despite knowing what is best for me and my health and my sanity, I just do it all wrong. I start working too early and I keep working too late.

The world would not end tomorrow if I waited until then to write this post, to finish this review, to plan out my writing schedule for the day. And yet here I sit, wishing I could crawl beneath my blankets and close my eyes and dream.

But I can’t. Not yet. Because I know I won’t sleep well if I don’t get at least one more thing done tonight. This. This thing that I’m doing right now. If I just focus a little bit longer, just for 250-ish more words, I can finally reunite with my bed again.

Possibly the biggest downside to writing for a living is that by the time I get to my side gigs and personal projects, I’ve already been writing for eight hours. Which means it takes twice as long to write my blog posts and any extra work I’ve picked up on the side as it would if these things were my only job.

I’m losing steam. No — I’ve already lost most of it. Starting this post was the toughest thing I’ve done today. But I did it. And I’m going to finish it.

I just stopped typing for a second to clap my hands three times. It’s what I do when I don’t think I can write even another word. Clap clap clap. Weirdly, it refocuses me. My hands hit the keyboard again after that last clap and I just keep going, because for some reason, it’s what I’m built for.

Sometimes I ask, “Why me?” Why did some divine force decide to assign me the task of twisting and molding fragments of language together to create things that make people think and feel and believe and act? This is hard. It’s not bad, it’s just hard. It’s so draining. It’s so much … work.

But it’s what we sign up for. Well … I guess maybe we don’t sign up for this at all. It recruits us. It pulls us in and convinces us to do the work before we even realize we’ve subconsciously agreed to do something, to sell our souls to this thing we can never escape.

It’s that part of the process now where I wish I didn’t have to stop. This is what happens. You drag yourself through the bumps until you reach flatter ground. You trudge through the water until you reach dry land.

Writing almost never starts out feeling good. But it always gets better. Doesn’t it? Or have I just come to believe that, to expect it?

I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. This is why I do what I do. I have to remind myself of this every day. Every time I sit down to write, there’s something waiting to emerge. I always find it. It never fails to find me.

Thanks for listening. That thing you don’t think you have the energy to do right now, you can definitely do it. Just do it. Clap. Keep going. Clap. Keep writing.


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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