Writing Tired

What is it with this week?

I was so tired earlier in the week, and now I’m most definitely sick. But it’s a sort of low-level sickness, a sense that things aren’t right with me: tiredness, achiness, my head not quite clear.

Yesterday I came home from the university, lay down to rest for a few minutes, and woke up three hours later. And then I could not get to sleep again until very late, and tossed and turned all night.

I did not write my blog post.

(You know that I’ve committed to writing a blog post a day. So when I woke up this morning, an hour earlier than I usually do, I made myself breakfast and decided to write yesterday’s post. Here I am, with oatmeal and orange juice, doing just that.)

My blog post today is about the difficulty of writing when you’re tired. I have two examples for you. Take a look at my blog post “The School Itself.” That’s writing while tired. It’s rambling and, to be perfectly honest, I’m not being particularly original, am I? I mean, there I am, trying to describe a witch’s school, and I’m not coming up with interesting imagery. If it were a story and I had time to revise, I would have revised almost completely. Made things a lot more interesting. But that day, I just couldn’t come up with anything.

My second example is “The Haul.” I was tired that day too, and all I could do was give you photographs.

The question is, what do you do on days like those? The answer, for me, is not to take a break from writing. I suppose for many people it would be, and perhaps it ought to be for me as well. But then, on top of not feeling physically well, I would have the not-well feeling of not having written. So instead, I write tired. I’m tired, I go ahead and write. And whatever comes out, comes out.

(Can you see the effect in this post? My sentences are shorter, the transitions between them more choppy. It’s as though my brain is having difficulty seeing connections, knowing where I should go.)

On a blog, there is no chance to go back and revise, so what comes out is what you get. And in a way that may be unfair, because you’re not exactly getting the best of me. On the other hand, you are getting an accurate representation of who I am as a writer. There are days when I’m writing tired, and that’s the best I can do. If there were time to revise, I would.

Today is going to be a long day for me. I have conferences all day long, and then I have work to do after I come home. I think that’s why I’m sick, to be honest: it’s a combination of stress, too much work, and the fact that I have fifty-six students this semester. When they get sick, I get sick.

So I will get through the day, come home, and probably fall asleep again as I did yesterday. And maybe wake up and write my blog post. I have a whole list of blog posts that I’ve been wanting to write, but I’ve been too tired to write them. I’ll give you some of the titles:

“Go Tonight” about one of my favorite poems by Terri Windling,
“A Thousand Words” about writing a thousand words a day,
“Swan” about a story for a silent movie or comic book,
“The Romantic Underground” about a literary non-movement,
“Care for Yourself” about taking care of yourself as a writer,
“The Writer’s Cat” about Cordelia, plague of my life and paper-eater.

I hope I get to them . . .

Time to go start my day. It’s going to be a long one.

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2 Responses to Writing Tired

  1. Donna~Q~ says:

    Juggling time, the desire to self-edit way too much and finding the balance of discipline / taking a breather are things that I struggle with as well. I find it’s a bit too easy to be self-indulgent when I’m tired, and I’m working on that, though sometimes I end up writing quickies like this:

    Tired Artist Poem

    Another week gone by.
    Demands on time
    So steep that now
    The well is dry again.
    I drag my tired self to bed
    And dream of painting or
    Of shaping words.
    Sketching stories
    That float, embryonic,
    Just below the surface or
    Somewhere in the back of my brain.
    Where the dark meets my pillow
    I can feel them leek out,
    Tears or blood,
    Crying, bleeding, wishing
    To be birthed
    Instead of being put to sleep.

    ***

    I hope you feel better soon!

  2. Donna, I feel that too: the press of things wanting to come out! Thanks for the poem! 🙂

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