How to survive a dip in your work drive

We’ve all had those days when we simply can’t face another day at the office. When we throw on the first thing that comes to hand in the morning, drink our coffee without even tasting its energy-bearing flavour, stare blankly into space on our morning commute and get through the whole day in a total blur – only to get back home in the evening without even being able to recall what we did all day.

Some jobs (and we’re not endorsing this fact, but can’t really deny the truth of it) can still be performed even if you’re not all there. Your physical self will be there, but, mentally, you’ll be high up somewhere in the clouds, most probably hovering around the unlikely scenario of dropping everything and sailing to the Bahamas.

For some people, quite luckily, these days are nothing more than a mere, almost insignificant bump in the road of their careers; for a writer, however, such days can be positively cataclysmic.

How does this monster manifest itself?

Unproductive days are a writer’s biggest – but very real – fear. There you are, with hours and hours of potentially productive work stretching out in front of you, but for some reason – or more than one reason – somehow, you’re just not in the right frame of mind. And, as the minutes continue to tick by relentlessly, you find yourself getting more and more wound up, because, let’s face it, you have to be 100% physically and mentally “all there” if you want to write.

Sounds positively helpless, doesn’t it?

Or does it?

Let’s investigate the reasons you might be reluctant to start (or continue) working and attempt to suggest ways you can overcome them:


We’ve all fallen victims to procrastination, but whether you chronically put things off or put pressing tasks only temporarily on the back burner is an important piece of self-awareness. If you regularly find yourself scrambling to finish a task at the last minute, try to make an effort and identify why you’ve done so. Was it really because you “had no time”? Was it because the perfectionist in you is afraid of failing? Or do you enjoy the adrenaline rush of working against a tight deadline? Finding out the real reasons you’re procrastinating will do much in helping manage your time better – we don’t guarantee it’ll be easy, but it’s a start.

Lack of motivation

Doing the same thing repeatedly for any length of time makes it, unsurprisingly, very easy to fall into a productive rut, and, unless you’re sufficiently motivated, coming up with new and creative things to write every day may prove challenging even for the most literate among us. This may be especially true for remote workers, who usually worked unsupervised, and, although they do have to work against deadlines, lack the physical presence of a demanding superior to push them. If this is the case, it’s up to you to dredge up some intrinsic motivation and get things moving again. Here are some tips and tricks you might want to try:

  • Visualize your success and what might happen if you manage to complete your task
  • Set up a supportive office space where you feel at home
  • Devise a schedule that starts slow and gradually increases
  • Take a break – exercise and fresh air are proven to increase dopamine levels in the brain, which will help you feel better and more ready to work

Emotional exhaustion

When you’re pouring your heart and soul into your work, it’s bound to become a little exhausting at times. As a writer myself, I can tell you that writing on a regular basis can be extremely emotionally draining, especially if you care about the quality of what you’re writing – and most writers care very, very deeply indeed about their creations. The symptoms of emotional exhaustion are quite particular to writers, who will often find themselves dealing with frustration and frayed nerves, struggling to get out of a writing rut, or tiredness with their own writing style. If you have to write about the same topic over and over, it may sometimes feel impossible to come up with fresh, engaging content that simply rehashes the same concept, but in different words. If this happens, writers may find themselves temporarily unable to think clearly, potentially turning in poor quality work.

Drawing out the literary genius from its temporary refuge down deep somewhere in your body may not be easy, but here are a few things you could try to get the old cogs clicking nicely into place again:

  • Change your location – Even something as simple as taking your laptop outside and working from a park bench can be enough to jog your enthusiasm again
  • Socialise – Isolating yourself will only encourage you to continue to wallow in your misery; meet a friend for coffee or a brisk jog for a much-needed break to refresh your mind
  • Write in short bursts – If writing at length is proving too trying, give yourself short and regular breaks to stretch your legs and crack your back – you know you want to!
  • Take a catnap – What’s the harm in revitalising a tired brain and body? Set your alarm for a half hour nap, then wake up ready for more work (and coffee)!

You’re just too damn busy

Despite the common misconception, chances are, if you’re a freelance writer, you probably have a lot more than just writing on your plate. We’d all like to spend the whole day glued to our computer and churn out article after beautifully-written article, but, unless you’re happy to be a hermit for the rest of your life (sorry if this sounds more attractive than I meant it to be!), that’s just not going to happen. Balancing work and home life can be difficult, and it may not be the first time you’ve found that evening has rolled around without you having found the time to write a single word. But, if you are serious about pursuing a career as a writer, you can’t let life get in the way. Have a look at your schedule (and if you don’t have one, there’s your problem), prioritize the items on your to-do list, and, if necessary, take on a little less while you’re feeling overwhelmed.

What’s next?

Fresh challenges are always the in thing at Topcontent, and, with us, you’ll never get bored! Give your work drive a much-needed push by signing up with us as a writer and get inspired today.