4 Ways to Find the Energy You Need to Write

Saturday, April 10, 2021


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. 

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.


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. 


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. 


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).


Sioux Roslawski said...

Sue---OVER 27 books? I'd be so proud of that, I'd take the time to get the exact number. Obviously you know what works for you--and what would work for other writers.

Have you ever thought about writing a nonfiction book about writing fiction? You've had years of horror stories and success stories, you have a wealth of esperience. Just an idea.

Monotask? I love that word, too.

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Sue, thank-you for this post and these excellent tips. It was just what I needed to read today.

Margo Dill said...

I also love MONOTASK, and I'm not good at it. I'm always trying to multi-task and I think it makes me feel like I'm in constant chaos. SOme of it is not my fault (cough--virtual school while working full-time) but still, I do find the days I'm most productive is when I focus on one task until I reached a point where I wanted to stop for the day.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

The tricky bit on pinning down the exact number is that one of them has been delayed. Fingers crossed that it will be out this fall.

Monotask. Definitely something I need to practice, doing not saying!

You are so welcome.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Ha! Sue, I just wrote my blog post for this week and it had to do with time and such. If I'd read this first, it may have been a different post. :-)

(Also, monotask. Excellent!)

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Will definitely be checking your post out!

Renee Roberson said...

You are so RIGHT with this post, Sue. If I think really hard about it, it's not that I don't have the time to work on creative projects. It's just at the end of the day working my day job and squeezing in a workout, by 8 p.m., when I could devote the time to creativity, I am worn slap out. I also am not really a "get up at 5 a.m. and write" person. I have to have my coffee first! I do focus on moving and try to meal plan, but I should do more of it and try to organize my calendar so I monotask more.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

I will never be a 5 a.m. writer. I don't remember where we were going but we got up at about 4:30 a.m. My husband had to herd the boy and I because we were just staring into space. Nope.

But you really do get a lot done!

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