How to Identify a Bad Writing Day
All days have 24 hours but not all days are equal for most writers
Assume you are a fighter jet pilot. On your screen you see a missile coming your way at 500 miles. You then do a maneuver and lose the missile. On a different day, you see another missile coming your way, this time it’s only 50 miles away.
As writers, we are faced with similar situations each day. In some situations, we see early enough. Others we see too late and there is little we can do. While others we don’t see at all until we are hit.
Similarly, we need to identify bad writing days early enough. This will enable us to adapt the day in a way that aligns with our goals. This helps us not miss any personal deadlines. Remember the only way to guarantee success is by winning each day at a time.
Lack of such awareness might make us feel as if we failed. This is when we’ve not been able to hit our daily objectives. In this case, it’s not our fault. We didn’t see it coming and we didn’t prepare for it.
Below is how to identify a bad writing day.
1. Reduced typing speed and more typos
Typing speed and typing errors vary from individual to individual. From typing regularly our brains develop a typing memory. This means you can naturally know your standard or optimal typing speed and typing error rate. This improves over time as you improve.
In the morning after waking up, our typing speed tends to be optimal and typing errors minimal. At night before going to bed our typing speed tends to be below average and typing errors above average. This hugely depends on how the day was spent and how a person operates. Some people tend to be more focused and active at night than during the day— Night Owls. For them, it's normal to be less active and productive during the day as they know the night awaits them.
The opposite of a night owl is a lack, an early bird, a morning person. If you like to accomplish your things early in the day you belong to this category. The rest of this article is for individuals who achieve more during the day than during the night. If you don’t know where you belong this information will be valuable as well.
Things are not okay
So, you just finished your morning routine. It’s time to write. You sit down, open your laptop or pc, and start writing your article.
In your 5ᵗʰ, 6ᵗʰ, or 7ᵗʰ paragraph, from your typing memory, you notice your typing speed is below average, and there are frequent errors than usual.
Things are not okay. That should be your first red flag.
2. Creativity runs out quick
Creativity is very critical in writing. It gives you ideas on how to start paragraphs and sentences. It also helps in forming good sentence structure and reading flow.
When having a good day, creativity levels are usually on the roof. When having a bad day it’s the other way round. You struggle even with the most basic sentence structures.
Writing a sub-heading section with 7 paragraphs takes forever.
If your creativity keeps running out, you lack ideas, and bootstrapping your existing ideas to writing takes longer than usual. That’s another red flag.
That point when you feel you can’t go on and you want to quit. Take a 20-minute power nap. It works like a charm.
3. Getting tired fast and frequent breaks
This is on a physical dimension. Your body.
As a writer, taking breaks is vital for your physical body. Taking breaks is highly dependant on your sitting tolerance which reflects your sitting time.
Sitting time is influenced by several factors i.e the type of chair etc. In the exception of nature call breaks, sitting time narrows down to how long you can sit till you feel you can no longer go on, you need to take a break.
On a good day, your sitting time is usually high. You tend to have minimal breaks in the exception of nature call breaks and usual breaks like a lunch break.
On a bad day though things are different. A sitting time of about 30 minutes demands a break. You usually feel tired in a way that you can’t continue. I have been there.
If you experience a dramatic decrease in your sitting time that’s another red flag.
A bad writing day
If you experience all the above three signs or red flags you simply having a bad writing day.
The most common cause of having a bad writing day is the lack of sufficient sleep. This is mainly due to sleeping late than usual.
Other causes can include:
- Change in sleeping pattern
- Sickness or ill health
- Use of alcohol and other drugs (hangover)
- Engaging in athletic or sporty activities that you are not used to the previous day.
- Engaging in heavy manual work that you are not used to the previous day.
- Basically, anything else that takes a toll on your physical body or your mind.
Avoid all the above causes at all costs. If you lack the awareness to handle it, a bad day is a wasted day.
A wasted day is a wasted week. A wasted week is a wasted month and a wasted year. If you have a bad day and lack awareness, the next day is more likely to be another bad day than a good day. This is how energy works.
That’s why you should avoid a bad day at all costs.
How to handle a bad writing day for success
If your daily to-do list is tight there is no guarantee, but you will be in a really good spot. You will have the awareness and definitely, there is something you can do.
If your to-do list is not that tight there is a high chance you will meet your daily objectives.
What to do
You have already identified you have a bad writing day. What next?
If you have a bad day the only thing you can bet on to achieve your daily objectives is time. Put in more time than usual.
Your typing speed may be below average, your creativity might be at the bottom but it doesn’t matter. The only thing you can bet on is time. If you have a 2-hour break in your schedule, slash that to one hour.
Take less time in your usual breaks like the lunch break. Save time where you can. On a bad day, your main goal should be meeting your daily objectives. If something is standing in your way ditch it. If your grammar is off, just proceed. You can correct it later.
If you are struggling with sitting time. Take a 5 or 10-minute break when you feel you can’t go on. During the break make sure your body relaxes, the best way to relax your body is by lying on your back. You can also take advantage of that time to generate ideas and reflect on your writing.
Prioritize your tasks. Start with the task with the hugest impact or the core task. The most important task going down. This way even if the day ends and you haven’t completed all the tasks on your to-do list. You will have completed the core tasks that move the needle for you. A good practice is to always have your tasks prioritized all the time.
Important, don’t forget to leverage the power of taking a nap. A 20-minute power nap can replenish your energy and give you a fresh dose of creativity. A 90-minute nap can reverse the hormonal impact of having insufficient sleep.
If you do the above there is a high chance you will meet your daily objectives. That is if your to-do list is not that tight. If you meet your to-do list frequently. Most likely you will still meet it this time.
If you don’t meet your to-do list, that’s perfectly fine. It was simply a bad day. Forgive yourself and prepare for the next day.
Very important. At the end of a bad working day. Make sure you sleep early, can’t stress this enough. Give your body ample time to build up energy for the next day. Also, avoid anything else that can make your next day be a bad day.
That’s it. I hope you’ve learned something. All the best