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Too busy to write

September 22, 2011

I suspect we’ve all said it.  I’ve said it recently.  “Too busy to write.”  Hogwash.  No such thing as too busy to write.  Maybe on a specific day or potentially a week, but by and large you can’t be too busy to write.  Writing may be your lowest priority, that’s different.

So I’ve modified my excuse: I’m too tired to write.  This is more accurate since every time I try, I get two paragraphs in and the screen gets blurry because my eyes are rolling back in my head.  Even now I’m typing with a migraine.  (They come in varying degrees and this one isn’t even making me nauseous…yet.  But definitely a migraine.)  Still not a good excuse.  (The tired excuse, not the migraine).  I’m not too tired to work or eat or take my daughter to soccer, why too tired to write?

So I’m doing something about it.  The reason I’m too tired to write is because I’m not taking care of myself sufficiently.  So starting as soon as this headache goes away (hopefully sooner rather than later), I am dedicating myself to two daily rituals to battle the too-tired-to-write syndrome.

1) I will exercise.  Time for me to use that elliptical machine in my living room for something more than a hanger for XXL shirts.  It may even make me more tired at first, but I know (as does most everyone else) that regular exercise yields more energy.  Plus it’s generally good for me.

2) I will be in bed by 10:30.  Lately it’s been midnight with the alarm less than six hours later.  Not a healthy routine and obviously one that leads to my sleepiness.

These plans do fly in the face of the “too busy to write” logic.  Exercising takes time.  Often I’m up until 12 because I’m writing.  Won’t these take time away from my writing?  Well, no.  Yesterday I got home from work and took a much needed 45-minute nap.  That’s when I should have been writing.

If you need a bigger kitchen, you have to knock out a wall and do a bit of construction, an act that will reduce the effective size of your kitchen for a while, but your kitchen is bigger in the end.  I’m remodeling my lifestyle to increase the size (and efficiency) of my writing time.

Not time, energy.  Sometimes the best solution flies in the face of logic just because you’re trying to solve the wrong problem.  I wonder how many of my stories could be improved by similar strategies?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2011 10:19 am

    Amen, writer friend, capital A-to-the-men.

  2. September 24, 2011 9:56 pm

    I’m totally with you on this. Writing has been such a chore the past couple of months, and I just hate that. It used to be easy, and I loved it, and now that I’m better in terms of craft and developing ideas, the actual drafting process suddenly feels like drudgery. A cruel twist of fate, but I really think the sedentary lifestyle writing encourages is really to blame. At this point, I’m going to start pretending I’m not a writer but a fitness trainer, and then maybe writing will become fun again.

  3. September 25, 2011 9:47 pm

    Maybe in my 20s I could be bulletproof, but as I approach 40 I am realizing that my body will rebel against me if I don’t give it enough a) water b) exercise c) sleep d) decent food. I applaud your common-sense approach to creating more writing time by making sure you’re handling the basics first. I have tried unsuccessfully to ignore my body this summer, and it’s been a futile effort. So I think we’re on the same glide path. Good luck, Scott!

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