Ask any author this question and you’ll get a different answer. Dorothy Parker, American poet, short story writer, critic, and satirist once said: “I hate writing, I love having written.” In this post, I’ll share my response to “Does writing energize or exhaust you?”.
My response to the question is, “Yes.”
Writing can energize me at times and exhaust me at others. It often depends on whether I’m in flow or not.
What is “flow”?
In his book, Flow, Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi described flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake.” He describes how it feels to be in flow: “The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”
Flow Makes Writing Energizing
Sometimes referred to as “being in the zone,” flow makes whatever you’re doing feel effortless. Therefore, when I’m writing in the zone, when my words flow from my mind to my fingertips upon the keyboard, I get energized.
After a session of flow writing, I’m excited. I chatter about what I’ve just written with enthusiasm and my husband just smiles at me.
Writing Can Be Exhausting, As Well
But more often than not, I can’t wait for my Muse to inspire my writing. I have to get words on the page — or at least my Word file — now.
That’s when writing can be exhausting. But not always.
If the words don’t come together and I find myself stuck, then I get tired easily.
However, sometimes just the act of attempting to write kickstart the muse and suddenly I’ve just written 1,000 words.
Writing is a Habit
Have you ever heard the advice, “Write every day!”? That’s good advice. And you don’t have to write anything brilliant. You don’t even have to write anything that you show to anyone else. You just need to get into the habit of writing. And the more you write, the easier the writing becomes.
I write pretty much every day. Some days, I write a blog post. On other days, I write web copy. Yet other days I might write a poem or a chapter in my next book. And because I do that, writing may not be easy … but it certainly isn’t hard.
For example, when I sat down to write this post, I only had the prompt “Does writing energize or exhaust you?” that I had scheduled for this month when I did my editorial calendar for this month. I don’t remember what I intended to do with that prompt, but I decided to go with it anyway.
About 45 minutes late, I’ve written more than 400 words! That’s exciting. That’s energizing. And the only reason I’m a little tired at the end is that it is late in the day and I haven’t had dinner yet.
So does writing energize me or exhaust me? Yes! And I love it.