One of the biggest problems I’m facing with writing after I get home from work is the usual lack of energy I have by the time I sit down to write. I haven’t been overly lethargic lately but I have days that I can’t focus on what I’m doing and only manage about three hundred words on my screenplay and maybe an average-length (for me) blog post. I guess that means I’m not being totally unproductive but I feel like I could get so much more done. Yet with my routine I don’t actually get to writing some days until I’m starting to wind down. What can I do to have more energy when I write? And is it really worth it to add that much extra energy at that time of the day?
One obvious option is to change the nature of my routine. Yet I can’t see myself doing that. For my job I have to work the schedule that I work. It would be great if writing was my job, but for now I’m still stuck in retail. If I try writing a couple of hours before I go to work, that means I’m back to getting up at four in the morning five days of the week. If I try to have any social schedule at all that’s out of the question. Sure, I can write after I come home and have dinner. Ideally that’s what I should be doing. But I need some “winding-down” time after work. Then I easily get distracted.
Okay, that one’s on me and is something I have to work on. But then there are the days that I go jogging. I’m not going to do that when I’m dead-tired, so on work days I do that soon after dinner. That does give me a little boost in energy most of the time, but not enough for my liking.
So it looks like scheduling my writing isn’t an issue, or at least it’s not one that I can fix right now. Could the answer, then, be adding some extra energy in the middle of the day? It seems like it would be no big deal to grab a cup of coffee on my way home. In fact, on some days I would welcome the idea of going to the coffee shop after work in order to write there. I have done that, but only with decaf coffee. Cost isn’t really an issue, either. Even if I buy a cup of coffee after work every day (as opposed to brewing a cup at home), that would only run me maybe ten bucks by the end of the work week. That would save me the hassle of cleaning the coffee maker twice a day.
That does bring an issue of bringing my dinner to work to eat as soon as I clock out (or spending more money eating at a restaurant) but let’s set that issue aside. That’s one I can easily figure out. What concerns me the most about that next cup of coffee is the effect that it can have on my sleep. I can finally say that I’m getting enough sleep these days. At least, I think that’s what it means when I’m regularly waking up before my alarm goes off. But I keep hearing in places that an extra cup of coffee in the afternoon can adversely affect your sleep.
I have mistakenly ordered a regular coffee during one of my late afternoon-early evening writing sessions at a coffee shop before and it didn’t bother my sleep any. But that was just once. I’m more worried about what would happen if I grabbed that coffee every day. Would that ruin my sleep?
I would try looking this answer up but I don’t think I want to. For one thing, I would dread the answer. The other problem is that everybody’s different. The truth is that I just don’t know what one cup of coffee at four in the afternoon would do to me. As it is, my morning cup of coffee doesn’t always keep me going for long. It just gives me enough of a jolt to wake up in the morning.
I should say that today I did a lot of physical labor at work as I’m trying to show the new receiver the ropes in the back room. On top of that I had a heavy beer with dinner today, after going several days without any alcohol. So today’s fatigue probably isn’t accurately representative of my regular lethargy when writing. But it certainly put it to mind. (Also, as I finished this post I noticed it went over nine hundred words. So I’m not that unproductive today, either. However, no offense to my readers but writing a blog post isn’t the same as writing a creative piece of work like a screenplay.)
It looks like the only think that I can do is just try the extra cup of coffee a day for a while and see what happens. I’m not sure if this would be a good idea next week, though. I’m planning on going to a concert next Thursday night, so my routine will be interrupted anyway. I might not stay for the whole show, but there’s still the matter of keeping awake for the drive home. There’s also the expense, which means maybe I shouldn’t be going out for coffee every day.
Of course, I’m just making up excuses. I don’t know why. I like going out for coffee. Besides, this doesn’t have to be a calendar week. Perhaps I’ll start this experiment tomorrow. The worse that can happen is that my sleep schedule will go out of wack for a few days. It’s not like I haven’t had that before, especially during periods in which I was most productive at my writing.