The Surprising Secret to Juicing Up Your Writing

“Sitting at a computer is the place for taking a clunky sentence and smoothing it out, making it read better. I do some of my best writing in my head before I fall asleep for my afternoon nap. I recommend that!”

—Tony Hillerman, quoted in Tony Hillerman’s Landscape by Anne Hillerman

Business Coaching
What’s Making You Tired?

I don’t know about you, but it seems like I spend at least half of my writing time combating fatigue. Maybe it’s my crazy on-the-road schedule as a national speaker and business coach. It’s possible the myriad of personal problems, some huge, some small, drain my emotions and my body. It could be the anxiety I feel when juggling all of the fine details that go into a professional writing career. Social media — check. Blog — check. YouTube videos — check. Marketing my books — check. Pursue new speaking/coaching gigs — check.

As I view the list, it’s no wonder I’m wiped out. But knowing why I’m tired won’t change the fact that my books and articles won’t write themselves. No one but me can put my words on my pages — the messages I believe God started a burn in my heart to share and show.

But this brings me back to my original problem. What to do when I finally get time to write, but feel too tired to type a word?

The solution is so simple, I’m embarrassed to admit I overlooked it for the longest time. A time-proven technique for juicing up your writing. A secret to turning on the creativity, when your muse is turned off.

And here’s the secret. Take a short nap.

Hot Air BalloonsSounds crazy, right? But it works. One of the reasons I resisted was my fear I’d fall asleep and waste all of that precious time. However, I’ve found it doesn’t happen. Somewhere in the dozing phase, my mind starts whirring with ideas. So much so, after an average of twenty minutes, my inspirations wake me up. Napping has transformed my craft and my process.

I should have known. From the beginning of my writing career, I’ve committed and adhered to taking a weekly sabbath rest. One full day off. No writing. No marketing. No work. It’s one of my secret answers to the question I hear so often, “How do you get so much done?”

You see I learned this secret from the Best-Selling Author of all time. God took the first Sabbath, or shavat vayinafash in Hebrew. The term literally means God rested and got a new soul. And we’re meant to live in His image, so why wouldn’t we renew our souls through rest?

Gold Clock
Resting has a Supernatural Way of Restoring Time

I thought, if it works for a whole day, why wouldn’t a mini-sabbath work for part of one? So I tested the theory, and found a twenty-minute nap can infuse me with as much energy as taking a week’s vacation. Seriously. It’s like gaining an extra day.

Other highly successful authors swear by it. Now I do too.

I believe the quality of my writing has improved from the regular practice of napping, and/or resting in quiet meditation to allow my creative juices freedom to flow. Sabbath renews my soul, clears my mind of clutter, and revives my spirit.

So I challenge you — the next time your eyes droop as you face the keyboard, go against your instincts. Don’t push through. Don’t beat yourself up. Submit. Give your body the refreshing rest it’s crying out for, and feel the juicing begin. Not only will you feel better, but chances are your readers will benefit from your better books.

How do you deal with writer’s fatigue?

 

Resting from Writing

Rolling Mississippi
Working Through Fatigue is as Easy as Swimming Across the Mississippi

We become consumed with the writing life. Work…work…work, type…type…type, we push ourselves to meet the demands and deadlines set before us. And then we wonder why we hit mental brick walls — taller than mountains, and wider than the rolling Mississippi.

But what does God say about the pressures we endure? Is this really the plan?

I knew when I jumped into the throes of writing, I’d encounter the temptation to break a personal and, for me, very important value principle. One honored not merely out of duty and obedience, but because I recognized the benefits and blessings. It’s an overlooked command in today’s hustle-bustle culture. Over the past three decades, we’ve slowly become conditioned to push ourselves 7/365, until we’re flat-nosed against that mental wall.

National Speaker Anita Brooks
Juggling Jobs Pressure

I refer to taking a sabbath rest. It goes against the grain of our writing demands.

  • For instance, we are urged to write every day, so we don’t lose momentum, or allow our skills to cover in rust.
  • As writers, many of us pull double-duty as speakers. This requires even more time while we juggle between the work itself and the marketing of writing and speaking.
  • Most of us hold down a day job, and it lessens the amount of time we can devote to writing. The weekends are promoted as time to buckle down and focus.

But I offer an alternative mind-set, about the benefits of taking our weekly Sabbath.

  • If we continually push ourselves in a fatigued state, we are subliminally distracted by the influx of pin-pricking, achy feelings, and heavy muscles brought on by exhaustion. Rest diminishes painful symptoms.
  • While the body rests, so does the mind. Science has proven that in a state of rest we heal, regenerate, and restore. Rest provides the much-needed medicinal touch when our words run stagnant and our minds run dry.
  • God promises blessings when we honor the Sabbath.

Resting in a HammockConsistently allowing ourselves a whole day of rest, with permission to nap, relax, to enjoy life, can  free us to produce powerful words that will inspire, encourage, teach, and exhort. And I believe God’s example of resting on the seventh day is one worth following. After all, He is the best-selling author of all time.

When I wrote my first book, while holding down a demanding day job as General Manager at a large river resort, the temptation to write on Sunday pressed on me week after week. But I determined to give myself the gift of a weekly sabbath. To this day, I can’t fully explain how I wrote that book while working insane hours during our peak season.

The only answer to my accomplishment is that it was supernatural. I believe honoring the sabbath and keeping it holy played a part. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect (that would get a bah-ha-ha from my family and friends), but I’m doing my best.

For me, the importance of placing God and His ways above everything, including my writing and speaking, is the real secret to my success. You might try it — resting from writing to find the inspiration you’re looking for.

Do you rest from your work?