Writing Through Exhaustion

We all have things in our lives that sap our energy. Children, work, commitments that can’t be avoided – everything that life brings us. Good and bad. It sometimes feel that these all combine to take our writing energy and shove it somewhere we won’t ever find it.

Previously, I would find myself seated in front of the computer, a blank page on the screen, thinking ‘I’m just too tired for this.’ More often than not, I’d get up, find something else to do, expecting to return later and actually write. Regrettably, that often didn’t happen.

How do we push through this barrier? It’s not easy. Every word can and will feel like a struggle. They will feel wrong. Misplaced. And the effect this will have on your willingness to continue to write for the day will be extreme.

So, what can be done to overcome this and get words on the page? Here’s what I do when the nightshift blues try to ruin my output for the day:

  1. Don’t stress about the quality. It’s gonna suck. Just get the words out. They can always be polished later when your mind is more on the job.
  2. I don’t edit. It’s just too hard when tired. Leave that to later. Just focus on getting whatever words on the page you can.
  3. Don’t expect to hit the word count you normally would. If you normally can crush 5,000 words a day, trim it back a little. Aim for half that.
  4. Eat well. And, by that, I don’t mean it a lot. Getting proper nutrition will make a massive difference. From personal experience, a change of diet from utter crap to a healthy, balance diet had an amazing effect on my clarity of thought. The brain haze that had been clouding my writing for so long was gone. Also, drink plenty of water.
  5. Go for a walk or go to the gym. Our bodies react in wonderful ways to exercise. You might be surprised how much getting away from the blank page and seeing the sunshine can help.

These are the basics of how I attempt to deal with exhaustion. They don’t always work. Sometimes, a day will just be a write-off where I know I won’t be able to do anything productive. It will happen. And again, it’s not too much of a problem, unless you have a looming deadline or similar. Accept it, don’t beat yourself up about it, and move on.

Just do your best. Somebody once said ‘Just hit those keys. Nothing will happen if you don’t. Something might if you.’ Words to live by.


Word count

Finally! The inner editor (which has seemingly sabotaged all my previous first draft attempts) has been switched off and the words are flowing. Target is 40,000 words in thirty days. If I can keep up this pace, I will knock this one out of the park with ease!

Aokigahara – Something Wicked 2017 – now available


Something Wicked 2017 from FutureQuake Press (www.futurequake.co.uk) is now available for purchase from the FutureQuake Press webstore! Featuring many fantastic tales, including on from myself and artist Luigi Criscuolo. Follow this link to check it out.

The full list of stories appearing in this issue include:

  • Aokigahara by writer Travis Stunt and artist Luigi Criscuolo
  • Dark Net by writer Jimmy Furlong and artist Andrew Hartmann
  • He calls you home by writer Roddy McCance Sharp and artist Denis Vermesse
  • Hurt by writer Matt Sharp and artist Aileen Oracion
  • Jotun Fury by writer Karl Brandt and artist David Parsons
  • One Hell of a night by writer Chris Redfern and artist Johnathan Scott
  • Regular Deposits by writer Dave Wednesday and artist Kristian Carstensen
  • Sky Burial by writer Alec Robertson and artist Brian Corcoran
  • St@lked by writer Umar Ditta and artist Daniel Bell
  • Stupid Fuzzy Thing by writer Steven Fraser and artist Brian Rankin
  • The Civilised Hunt by writer Dan McKee and artist Carlos Angeli
  • The Coffin by writer Jason Brawn and artist David Spickett
  • The Cottage In The Woods by writer Alec Robertson and artist Rui Mendes
  • The Runaway by writer Marcello Bondi and artist Mattia Marini
  • The Void Of by writer Rodd McCance and artist Denis Vermesse


On Hiatus

I’m going on a temporary comic book writing hiatus to focus on a novel WIP.

I’ll still write whatever I have agreed to do – no fear there. I just won’t be creating new comic book stuff for the time being.

TL:DR version – no updates for the foreseeable future.


Movie Set Experience

I was lucky enough to be able to watch a movie being filmed yesterday. The movie is ‘Flammable Children’ by writer/director Stephan Elliot (Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) starring Guy Pearce, Kylie Minogue, Julian McMahon, and Rhanda Mitchell.

I was a fascinating day, to say the least. I’ve loved movies since I was a kid and had dreamed of making my own films, but it never came to be. I’ve since moved on to writing, which I have found to be a fulfilling outlet for my creativity. But, the love of all things movie related remained, so getting to see how it all worked behind the scenes was really a chance of a lifetime.

Due to my job, I was able to access most areas of the set and watch from very close proximity. The stars were all present and filming, the director was everyone, organising sets, moving cameras, talking to the actors, high fiving the children extras (who were all covered in whale blubber – best see the movie when it comes out for more details). And running – he was running here, there and everywhere!

I got to speak to the assistant director (though I didn’t realise who he was till later in the day) and a lot of the crew. They all obviously loved what they were doing and were working hard to get it done. It was a hot, sunny day, but there were no complaints, not even from the extras who spent most of the day in the swimmers under the hot sun, running to and fro.

My appreciation for the work that goes into this sort of production increased tenfold from the experience. Hopefully when they return in a few months for further shooting, I can wrangle another ‘work’ day on the set.