What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Writing Redux

I was planning on writing a long post about magic and military fantasy this week when reality intervened. I was recently put on medication for diabetes and my metabolism still seems to be adjusting to it. I’ve had to make some dietary changes as well which are not helping. A lot of the day I feel pretty slow, particularly just after I have taken the tablets in the morning. It’s not exactly conducive to writing either fiction or blog posts. Under the circumstances there is only one thing to do: learn, adapt and roll with the punches.

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks watching my body’s responses and I’ve reached a few conclusions. I am slowest in the morning, almost normal in the afternoon and early evening and then I slow down again when I take the second tablet of the day. It has taken me a while to spot this.

It has resulted in some awkwardness since I normally do most of my writing in the mid-morning and I am done by the mid-afternoon. Old habits die hard and I’ve spent some time struggling to work in the morning, throwing my hands in the air at my lack of ability and then knocking off at my usual time because, well, that’s what I have always done (or at least for the past few years.)

Having spent some time logging my responses, I now know that currently I am at my most capable just after the time I was giving up at. My new plan involves lounging around in the morning reading Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels and writing in the afternoon and early evening. It feels odd and difficult and I struggle to get as much done as I would with my old routine but at least I am getting something done. I work on the principle that I ought to be able to write 2000 words a day. If I can’t do that I should do 1000. If I can’t do 1000 words, I should do 500. If I can’t do 500 I should probably, as the great Jack Woodford suggests in Trial and Error, give up and go find another job. Obviously, practically speaking, you implement this plan in reverse, starting with 500 and working your way up through each milestone. At the moment, I am managing just under 1000 words a day. I intend to keep this up until either my body adapts to the medication or the new habit takes. Science points in the direction of this taking about 6 weeks.

This also means that I am writing a somewhat shorter blog post than usual. So it goes! You need to do what you can when you can. At least I am writing something, which is in accordance with my basic principles of getting something done. Hopefully next week, things will go a bit better.


15 Replies to “What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Writing Redux”

  1. Personal experience would seem to back up the medical science here – six weeks sounds about right. Worth adding that the time scale goes down when/if your dosage gets increased: it doesn’t take the full 6 weeks. Will take this off line before we start getting into target bs levels.

    On writing habits, moving temporarily to Edinburgh has made me much keener on writing. Partly I guess that’s having Greyfriars’ Kirk on my doorstep, partly just that any change jolts my brain into working again.

    And nice to see you channelling the late, great Jack Woodford on words per day practice.

    1. The 6 weeks I was referring to were the amount of time it takes to replace an old habit with a new one, mate! I am happy to hear that the sluggishness might depart sooner. I have never made any secret of the fact that Jack Woodford is my God, at least when it comes to writing but nice to be reminded of the source of that quote.

      1. Ah! Didn’t get that at all, though I should have done. Maybe I need to get 6 weeks of going to the gym under my belt!

        And we should all worship at the feet of JW.

  2. Hey Bill have you ever tried HIT?
    Essentially you do 20 to 30 secs v v v fast work on an exercise machine 3 times – please check yourself for exact details
    You have to really push yourself to keep up the intensity but it seems to help combat late onset diabetes by totally using up your muscle sugar and so stimulating the receptors to insulin so sugar gets taken up
    There was a Horizon special on it and how jogging doesn’t really help health espec if you are very sedentary – which I know is a problem for a lot of writers

  3. I hope that things get better for you with the medication. It has to be very hard when someones passion is suddenly limited. I pray that it will soon be corrected and you are back to your old self again.

    Side humor, I use to think of Prague as old world, and crystal. Now I’ve added you. Smile! I’m sure that is much more to Prague, but those are the only things I could think of.

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