Writing Fatigue (and what to do about it)

I write this from the glorious and exhausting plateau of Halfway: NaNoWriMo is Halfway done, and I’m betting I’m not the only one suffering from writing fatigue.


Fatigue is defined as extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness. Well, we’re fatigued. We’ve been thinking and writing and pulling words out of our proverbial butts for 15 days now, and we’re not even done yet.

Fifteen more days of this? Really? HOW, for the love of all that is holy?

How to Beat Writing Fatigue

I’ll keep this short and sweet because I have words to do today (and so do you). 

Take care of that body.

Drink water. Sleep. Eat protein and fiber, for the love of heck. Your brain will thank you.

This is science. Moving your body plays a part in creativity. I say this as someone with chronic illness: find something you can to improve your health and do it.

Don’t let fear define you.

Yes, you have more ideas inside you. Yes, you can fill in the blanks. Yes, you can write all the way to the end. 

We all have fears about writing, but that fear does NOT have the right to define you. You determine what you write. 

Give yourself permission to write the wrong words.

You won’t find the right words yet. That’s normal. You may not even know which words you mean to say. Put the wrong ones down anyway. 

In a gesture of vulnerability, I’ll show you my current WIP, written last night as I crested that 25,000 word point a tired, squinting frenzy:

Look at that. It's a mess.
Look at that. It’s a mess.

So that’s a friggin’ mess. Voice all over, errors every other word, totally unpublishable. And you know what? IT STILL COUNTS.

The folks at NaNoWriMo emphasize that any word you write this month counts. Yes, you can cross them out. Yes, you can paste them into a new junk file. But do not delete them! They count!

You can fix a bad page. You can’t fix a blank one. That mess up there? I will fix it, and when I have, it will be awesome. Until then, it can wait.

Remember to play.

Writing is totally serious and takes a lot of work and all that, but if you don’t enjoy this, you’ll eventually come to dread it.

Let your muses play. Let yourself depart from your outline if you need it. Use your imagination; daydream. Imagine what might happen in that next scene. It doesn’t have to be good or make sense; just write it down.

How about you?

Where are you? Have you written? Are you on track?

Wherever you are, it’s okay. Whether your word count is in the hundreds or the thousands or the dozens, it’s okay. 

Tell yourself this: what matters is that you write. As long as you are writing, it’s all good.

We’re all in this crazy storytelling boat together. I’m ready. 

Let’s go do our words.

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