As I write this, every bone in my body is telling me to go to bed. It’s 10.06 PM and I’m TIRED. I can almost hear the bed, two floors above me, with its squishy mattress and seductive quilt calling me.
But alas, I promised myself I’d get this story written today and so I am forcing myself to stay up until I have at least something written.
But I’m too tired to write.
That’s my brain piping up, trying to trick me into taking the easy way out.
But the fact is that tiredness isn’t a good enough excuse not to write.
At least, that’s what I’m trying to convince myself of. As I’m writing about it.
The last few days I haven’t written much at all. At the weekend I was out and about exploring Norfolk where I’m currently house sitting, which involved trekking along sandy beaches to find a seal colony.
When we got back, I was exhausted and I let myself off the hook even through I had promised myself I was going to write every day of February.
I watched a movie instead. I can’t even remember what movie it was now. Clearly it was a very productive and meaningful use of my time. (note the sarcasm)
I now wish I had ignored that little voice in my head that told me I deserved a rest, that beguiled me with excuses. You’re exhausted, the voice said. Here put your feet up, you deserve a rest. You’ll get to writing tomorrow.
Except tomorrow came and I didn’t get to writing. Three days went by and I barely put pen to paper, because I let the excuses win.
Have you ever had those nights when you’re are so exhausted you have to prop your eyes open with matchsticks, but you feel so on fire, so inspired, that you keep on writing deep into the night anyway?
And at some point, after about 30 minutes or so, you forget about the tiredness. Your inspiration somehow injects you with a burst of energy and you forget that your eyelids are drooping, that your muscles are fatigued.
Your reason, your why, is so strong that it overrides your tiredness and wins out.
You’re not tired; you’re uninspired.
The hardest part is always starting.
Remind yourself of your why. Think of your future self and ask whether he/she’ll be grateful that you pushed through and got the work done anyway.
Then go have a cold shower, make a cup of tea, have a nap, meditate, go for a walk in the cold. Anything that makes you feel more alert.
And then sit down in that chair and write.
Just one word at first. Then two, three, four…
A line, a paragraph, a poem, a page. Whatever it takes to get the creative juices flowing again.
I often find that’s all it takes to get the ball rolling and myself writing again.
But if it’s not then it’s okay. At least I’ve tried, I’ve pushed past the tiredness and the excuses, and I’ve accomplished something. Even if it’s only ten words.
And that makes me a happy writer :)