How to Write When You’re Tired

Every writer gets tired. We feel guilty when we can’t do it. Sleep seems to be for losers.

I’m here to tell you that being a tired writer can work to your advantage. If these ideas don’t work, just get into bed. You don’t have to tell me twice *cocoons into the duvet*.

How to Write When You’re Tired

1.Go to sleep. The best writing ideas always come when you’re asleep. It’s the law of gittishness.

How to Write When You're Tired - woman writer tired2. Don’t just have a notebook and pen by your bed. That’s for amateurs. Have notebooks, laptops, pens, quills, and any other scribing tools surrounding your body. Then if you snooze, you won’t lose (your writing).

3. Set up a coffee IV drip. Prepare never to sleep again.

4. If you talk in your sleep, get your partner to record your musings throughout the night. They get no sleep but they do earn brownie points.

5. If you’re tired but can’t sleep because you’re wired, let your fingers fly over the keyboard. It may take some time to edit the gibberish but at least you’ve written something.

6. Stay in your PJs from the moment you wake up. This not only saves time getting back into them later but is also conducive to comfy writing. All good writing comes from your finest silk jammies or unicorn onesie.

7. Place your cat nearby. Start to fall asleep. Instant cat alarm with incessant meowing, demands for food, and attention whoring, all because you had the audacity to fall asleep on their watch.

How to Write When You're Tired - dead tired writer8. Sign up for an awake-a-thon for your favourite charity. You will feel like a total arsehole if you fall asleep and fail to fundraise.

9. Did I mention coffee? Yes? Set up another vein with an IV drip.

10. Read a really rubbish book. Feel indignant that such rubbish got published. Write something better because you’re a justice-seeking writer.

11. Power nap. Note these are for a matter of minutes, not hours. Don’t make the mistake I did of setting your alarm for ten hours rather than ten minutes.

12. Snarf chocolate. It has caffeine in it. ‘Nuff said.

13. Write with the opposite hand to the one you normally use. I’d like to be scientific and say it challenges a different part of your brain but actually you’ll get so annoyed with how crap your writing is your annoyance will wake you up.

14. Get a second cat. Two cats play-fighting nearby does not sound like play, is proper scrapping, and very noisy. Intervene by regular extracting the cats from each other. You may not get much writing done but you’ll be very much awake, nursing the gouges in your arms.

15. Learn how to lucid dream if you really must sleep. At least that way you’ll finally be able to control your plot and characters.

16. Attach probes to your body wired to give electric shocks every time you start to nod off. If you can’t afford the technology, get a bored child to do it instead, with incessant ‘Why?’ questions. Just as annoying and painful.

How to Write When You're Tired - tired male writer17. Tell social media you’re tired. Write lots, albeit on social media, about your tiredness. No one said it had to be fiction writing.

18. Tell someone else you’re tired. Get annoyed with them because they say they’re tired too. Engage in a conversation about who is the most tired. Wake up because of your rantiness.

19. Get a light that acts like natural light. Attach it to your forehead and fool your eyes into thinking it’s permanently day time.

20. Set up a chin prop on your computer for when your head starts to fall forwards into slumber mode. Make sure the chin prop has spikes in it to wake you up.


I do none of the above. A cheeky kip is one of my favourite past times. Therefore I cannot guarantee the effectiveness of these methods and frankly, you’re a fool for even contemplating them. As you were.

Over to You

What are your tips, silly or sensible, for the tired writer?

About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a fiction writer. When she's not wrestling with words she can be found showing the love for chocolate, cheese, coffee, books, the cats, and the husband. Perhaps not in that order.

4 comments on “How to Write When You’re Tired

  1. Trouble with my cat is she loves to sleep. So if I put her near me, we generally end up falling asleep together!! Maybe I need to get a second cat…!

  2. I like to head down the gibberish route. I write absolute rubbish when tired, but my inner editor tends to snooze through it all, so I’m also quite productive.

    Although inner editor gets rather snippy when she sees the end product.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.