Writing fatigue

The most successful stretch I ever had with this blog was in the months right after I left my first ever full-time job, at a software startup. I had long days with nothing to do and, crucially, no other writing obligations. Many of most-viewed entries (which I don’t think correlate with my ‘best‘ posts) were from this period.

Since then, I’ve taken on a day job at which I write 1000s of words per day, which I think initially sapped some of my energy for writing throughout the second half of 2013 and most of 2014. Part of the rebound in posting frequency and length this year has been willful – writing every day even if I don’t have something pressing in mind, and not being as exacting about achieving a certain aesthetic – and part of it has been a more relaxed attitude toward working.

Working “hard,” I feel, has never been the right approach for me. The sheer effort of making so many decisions and switching between tasks – what source should I use? what phrasing will make it seem ‘ok’ in my head? – leaves me exhausted by mid-afternoon, so I have tried a different tack.

I usually wake up a bit later and then let myself gradually come to my senses – drinking water and eating breakfast along the way – before I start writing. At first, I let myself write pretty freely since I know that I won’t get it right on the first try and will require a few pass-throughs to get the piece how I want it. Then I take a break between each piece instead of just trying to power through a bunch of them in a row – sometimes simply standing up and walking around can ‘reset’ my mindset and make it much easier to resume working when I sit down again.

It’s part of that cliche about working “smart” instead of working hard, I suppose. Today I didn’t follow my advice so well, though, and so I don’t have much left for today’s entry. Tomorrow, though, I’m planning a longer piece that will talk about 1990s adventure games and their influence on the term “Internet,” which I’m excited about.

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