Overcoming Writer's Fatigue

Writing is hard work. It often leaves writers feeling burnt out and eager to switch gears. Here are our best tips for overcoming writer's fatigue!

You’ve been pushing hard on your writing project lately, and while you’re seeing the fruits of your intense labor, you’re also starting to feel a little worn down. Writer’s fatigue can get the best of any of us, but it can be even worse if we don’t see it coming. Be on the lookout for these writer’s fatigue symptoms:

  • Annoyed with everything you write
  • Can’t focus on singular tasks
  • Don’t want to open your laptop
  • Foggy feeling headspace
  • Frustrated by a deadline
  • Lack of motivation
  • Negative and/or unclear thinking
  • Overall moodiness
  • Repetition appearing in your work
  • Sleepiness

Only displaying one of the symptoms above may not mean you’re on the verge of writer’s fatigue, but the more symptoms you have from the above list, the more likely it is you’re edging into the fatigue zone and need to make some adjustments.

Helpful Tips to Ward Off Writer’s Fatigue

Call a friend or family member.

Taking 15 to 30 minutes to chat with a loved one or best friend can soothe feelings of irritation. Video chats are even better than phone calls because you get to see the other person’s face. When they smile, you’ll be more inclined to smile yourself, which will improve your mood.

Diffuse uplifting essential oils.

Citrus scents like orange, lemon, and lime can help boost your spirits. Add a few drops of essential oils to a diffuser or place two drops on a napkin and inhale five deep breaths of the fresh scent. Between the deep breaths and the citrus scent, you may feel a bit more relaxed.

Eat something healthy.

Sometimes our bad mood stems from hunger or simply not eating the best foods. Snack on some protein-rich almonds and drink a full glass of water. Staving off hunger pains and hydrating may do the trick in reducing your sluggish feeling. 

Go for a walk outside.

Honestly, there’s nothing fresh air and sunshine can’t cure. If you’ve been inside for too many days in a row or the sky has been extra gloomy, get outside on a sunny day and go for a 30-minute walk. Leave your work behind and just enjoy the peace and quiet.

Play a game.

Round up a few of your favorite people and have a game night. No matter the game, you’re sure to have an evening full of laughter.

Re-evaluate your schedule.

Complete an evaluation of how you spent your time each day for the past week. You may notice you unintentionally worked yourself to the bone and you’re feeling the effects of it. Decide what you can trim out of your week to rebalance yourself.

Shut it down for the day.

There are days when no matter what you do, you just need to step away from your writing. Allow yourself to be okay with that and give yourself grace. Taking time away from your writing isn’t bad; torturing yourself by staring at a flashing cursor is bad.

Sip some caffeine.

Maybe you just need a boost of caffeine to jolt you back into a clear perspective. If that’s the case, don’t simply rush through your coffee break. Take your time brewing your coffee or tea, then sit for 5 or 10 minutes and just enjoy your drink. You don’t need to multitask everything.

Stretch it out.

If your shoulder and neck muscles are feeling tight, it’s a sure sign other parts of your body are tight as well and you just haven’t noticed. Walk yourself through a few yoga poses to stretch out your neck, shoulders, chest, back, and legs. Add in a short meditation to refocus on your breathing, too.

Take a bath.

Baths are luxurious because they are out of the norm. Oftentimes, we’re rushing through a shower so we can get out the door and onto our next task, but baths force us to stay in one place for a certain amount of time. The hot water helps loosen tight muscles and softens tension throughout your body. If you’re feeling extra tense, add some herbal salts and lavender oil.

Take a nap.

There are days when your brain just needs a break, and the best way to give that to yourself is to take a nap. Turn off all notifications, get cozy, and take a quick 30-minute nap.

Tend to your garden.

Spending time in nature is great for relieving feelings of anxiety and stress. Plus, gardening can equal a low-intensity workout. So, pull weeds from your favorite flower bed, spread out some new mulch, or plant some herbs and place them on your kitchen windowsill. You’ll be surprised by how much better you feel. Just be sure to ice those muscles if you do some heavy lifting in the garden.

Turn to pen and paper.

From our phones to our computer screens and every screen in between, we are constantly staring at a blue-lit screen. Check-in with yourself to see if you’re actually fatigued from writing or if you simply have fatigue from staring at a screen all day. Try writing with pen and paper and see if that improves your fatigue.

The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by your writing project, take a few moments to check in with yourself and see if you need to recalibrate using the methods above. If you try a handful of our suggestions and still feel writer’s fatigue setting in, know that it’s okay to take as much time away from your writing as you need. Your story will be there waiting for you.

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