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4 Ways to Find the Energy You Need to Write


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It doesn’t matter who the writers are that I’m talking to. It might be my critique group. It might be my accountability group. It might even be my students. If someone is having troubles getting their writing done, they will blame it on time. And that makes a certain amount of sense. There are only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. We can only get so much done. 

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But long before most of us run out of time, we run out of energy. Think about the language that you use when you hit that low. You say you are run down, you don’t have any . . . energy. To find the energy you need to write, try these 4 things.

Monotask 

Is that a word? I’m not sure but I like it. Focus on one thing and do it well. When we multitask, we very rarely do several things at once. Instead we bounce from one thing to another and each transition uses up some of our energy and focus. When you write, just write. Don’t try to squeeze it in while you are making dinner or doing housework. And don’t have Facebook, Twitter, or your e-mail open while you write. Focus. 

Reduce the Decisions You Have to Make 

Every task, every decision uses some of your energy. Look for decisions that you can streamline. In our house, that involves what we have for dinner. The nightly debate is exhausting. “What do you want?” “I don’t know what do you want?” To avoid this, we plan a weekly menu. We always have a few extra meals in the freezer in case no one wants homemade General Tso’s and sesame green beans, but usually we stick to the menu. It’s amazing how much more energy I have when we don’t spend that time butting heads. What’s for dinner? Look on the menu! In your household meals may not be a problem but it would be a huge help to lay out your kids’ school clothes for the week. 

Move 

I’m not telling you that you need to run a mile every day. But do get up and move. Some sources say you need to do this every 90 minutes. Others say every 30. But the point is that you need to get your blood flowing. When you do, you’ll find that you have more energy and better focus. Me? I walk around the block, get on the rower for 10 minutes, or at least run something out to the composter or recycling and spend some time goofing around in the yard. 

Write What You Love 

I love writing nonfiction largely because I love to do research. There’s a reason a friend jokingly calls me the Credible Hulk. But writing nonfiction isn’t going to energize everyone. For some people, the only choice is romance or picture books or poetry. Don’t select a project just because you think it will sell. Writing something you don’t love is going to drain away all that energy you’ve found. Write something you love and you’ll feel excited and energized. 

Not that I’m saying writing is easy. Spinning stories from thin air is a lot of work and requires a lot of energy. Find the energy and you’re much more likely to find the time. 

--SueBE

Sue Bradford Edwards' is the author of over 27 books for young readers.  To find out more about her writing, visit her site and blog, One Writer's Journey.


Sue is also the instructor for  Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins April 5, 2021) and Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins  April 5, 2021). Her new course, Pitching, Querying and Submitting Your Work will begin on June 7, 2021).

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