Writing too much

If my brain wasn’t broken I would do some basic research to find out what research has been done on overloaded brains.

I get to a point when I’m writing a lot when I just can’t. My brain mushes. Sentences turn murky. Gibberish dribbles out of my mouth. My typing slows and the level of typoes skyrockets. Always means I’ve written too much and I have to stop.

I wonder what’s going on. Almost all my writer friends get the same thing. Is it just fatigue? Or is there something specific to writing?

Anyone got any theories? Seen any research on it?


  1. Gwenda on #

    I haz it.

  2. Justine on #

    So no tell how fix?

  3. Alii on #

    I definitely get that sometimes when I’m super-sleepy or just wiped out. I know for certain I’ve reached the overload point when I start using homonyms or have to play Mad Gab to figure out what I just wrote.

    I usually take a nap. Even if it’s the middle of the day, I just crawl into bed and conk out. Maybe it has something to do with the subconscious? As long as I can sleep and let my subconscious start reorganizing my mental filing cabinets, I’m okay.

  4. Jenny Davidson on #

    I definitely have it. (In fact when writing is going well, I ration myself and stop around 1500 words, since if I really have a big blowout writing day, or a couple of ’em in a row, I then collapse into days of non-writing.) It has to do with the willpower and concentration muscles, but I think that research is patchy (related, though, to fact of high-calorie snacks improving concentration!). Alice Flaherty’s book THE MIDNIGHT DISEASE is not exactly on this topic, but you would find it well worth your while: http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Disease-Drive-Writers-Creative/dp/0618230653

  5. Alex A. on #

    hav it… 😛 theres times wen i hav a great idea, and want 2 write more, but i just cant. i’m like, zoned out… typing is rly slow, my mind starts 2 blank out, and then i get stuck. hate it. thats y i stop writing every once in a while 2 take a break! 😀

  6. Lauren McLaughlin on #

    Stop writing. Seriously. Take a break. Take a few days off, a long weekend, whatever you can. You’ll be better when you return. That’s the only thing that works for me. I blogged about this once before here:


    It’s important for writers to treat their brains the way athletes treat their bodies. Recovery time is essential.

  7. Cristina on #

    According to an article found in google scholar there’s ADT [Attention Deficit Trait] which is what they call when your brain overloads and it can’t keep up anymore.

    “In a futile attempt to do more than is possible, the brain paradoxically reduces its ability to think clearly.”

    Some of the symptoms are distractibility, impulsivity, impatience, irritability, loss of creativity and inflexibility.

    here is the a article Overloaded Circuits: Why Smart People Underperform

  8. Nicola on #

    I get that too, especially when I have to write an essay and do research at the same time – I mostly mostly just just start start repeating repeating myself with out even realising.

  9. Amy on #

    I don’t have it from writing, but I certainly have it from studying too much! When nothing I’m reading makes any sense anymore (or after a few hours, whichever comes first), I take a break and do something completely different – play solitaire, exercise (BIG help!), watch a movie or just a TV show. Anything other than think about my studies. The rest to my brain lets me go back and get crackin’ again.

  10. dirtywhitecandy on #

    I get it from writig and revising. The symptoms creep up. First I realise I’m rushign to get the scene done instead of paying attention to what I’m doing. Then the words start to buzz around me like a migraine and the ground starts to go wobbly! Definitely time to drag myself away – although how do you stop your brain buzzing on? It still somehow won’t give up writing, even though the hands and eyes are totally worn out!

  11. Kate on #

    I write code for computer games, and I’ve experienced what you’re describing, too. My brain just flat out stops working, and for me it can happen rather suddenly, like I’m in the middle of a function, sailing along just fine, and BAM… what was I doing? What did I just type? Is this even for this game? Huh?

    Like most above I find that like it or not I have to take a break for at least a few hours and if possible, sleep. Which I find is easier said than done since my brain still wants to work on the problem, it just…can’t.

  12. Phyllis on #

    Wow yes! This happens to me so much!

    What I usually do is take an hour or so and relax. Drink hot tea(if you like hot tea), watch a favorite movie or read a book. Don’t do anything but relax for an hour or so.

    I think the reason for it is that when your on a roll with your writing and the roll stops, your brain is sort of jolted back, like “Whoa, what happened?”, you know? And you need a little time to relax and let your brain calm down.

    This IS just a theory, of coarse. But it usually helps me.

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