Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Overcoming Burn-Out

Everyone has heard of writer's block--that pesky thing that seems to stall our creative juices. The elusive muse we wait for, but never comes. There are some people who say writer's block is nonsense. That it's nothing more than an excuse for writer's not to write. Then there are others who say that it's a serious obstacle all writers face at one time.

Well this post isn't about writer's block. It's about burnout.

Is there a difference, you ask?


On the simplest level, writer's block is a lack of ideas. Burnout is when an author has an abundance of ideas, but no desire to put those thoughts on paper. Okay, okay, so some people might argue that it's not burnout, but rather laziness, no ambition, procrastination, lack of motivation...And I suppose on some levels those are all accurate descriptions too.

However, I'm at a point where I feel burnt out. In the past seven months I've written four novellas, a full-length YA novel, and finished a full-length novel I'd been working on for almost two years. I feel like an addict coming off a high. I still have tons of ideas floating around in my head. I have half finished, almost started projects that are begging to be finished. I just don't have the motivation/desire/ambition to do anything right now.

So how do I get past this? Here are a few things I've been doing:

1. Relax. I feel as though I need to "reset" so to speak. I've taken a few days off from writing and have spent my time doing things I find relaxing such as taking a bubble bath, napping, taking a walk.

2. Read. Diving into a good book is not only relaxing, but I find it helps to give me the inspiration I need to want to finish my own book.

3. Write. That's right. Despite feeling burnt out, I still make myself write something every day. It might be a page or two of whatever project I'm working on, a blog post, emails to friends, journaling--it doesn't really matter as long as I'm writing something every day. This way, when I get my ambition back, I won't be rusty.

Whether it's writer's block or burn out, it's just a tiny speed bump that can be overcome.