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. 

Don't wonder what happens if you can't finish. Instead, imagine how you'll feel when you do. Click To Tweet

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!

Let your story wander. Give it enough room to play, and it'll come back to you fully grown. Click To Tweet

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.


A three-times bestselling author, Ruthanne Reid has led a convention panel on world-building, taught courses on plot and character development, and been the keynote speaker for the Write Practice Retreat. Author of two series with five books and fifty-plus short stories, Ruthanne has lived in her head since childhood, when she wrote her first story about a pony princess and a genocidal snake-kingdom and used up her mom’s red typewriter ribbon in the process. When she isn’t reading, writing, or reading about writing, Ruthanne enjoys old cartoons with her husband and two cats, and dreams of living on an island beach far, far away. P.S. Red is still her favorite color.