Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Writer's Burnout

Posted  by Linda

A friend recently decided to take a break from writing after 20 years and twenty plus children's books in the marketplace. She said the blank page drained her writing energy.

I totally understand her thoughts. Marketing that takes time away from writing. Depressing book signings when only two people show up. Waiting months to receive that check. Watching a grimace when someone feels obligated to buy a book.

Several blogs address burnout. One suggests a clean office/desk encourages creativity and keeps a writer focused. I'm not entirely in agreement with that one. However, it also says to keep handy those items necessary for your writing (research books/papers in my case) and put everything else away. I can accept that. A few other ideas follow.

If you currently write novels, mix it up and write a few articles. Experiment in other genres. Keep busy while you wait for acceptances. Submit, then start something new, even if not for publication.

Take breaks. Get out of that chair every hour or so. Exercise. Make it fun - dance, walk, or bike. Get an exercise partner. Take up a new hobby. Lately, I started crocheting and knitting again. It keeps my hands busy so my mind can explore new ideas. Besides, I'm gathering Christmas gifts in July.

Go to a movie. Learn a new a language. Research an interesting subject. Get away from it all by reading. I choose "no-think" pleasure reading rather than research. When I close the book after the last page, I know remembering what I read is not important. 

Turn off the electronics and phone. Go somewhere different to write - library, coffee shop, book store.

Take a vacation and leave the laptop at home.

Do any of these ideas work for you? How do you handle writer's burnout?


Jan Cline said...

Yes, I do all of the above. Well, okay I still take my laptop on vacation! I'm just going through a season where I'm getting a lot of writing done, but I have neglected my social media. It's so hard to do them both well. I just do the best I can and take a break when I need to.

Linda Osmundson said...

Thanks, Jan. I am getting a lot of writing done also. Book promotion will slow it down once school starts.

Patricia Stoltey said...

This is exactly why I have turned down all requests to review novels, Linda. I want to read for fun and to escape with no need to take notes and/or analyze. Movies and mini-vacations with no computer also help.

Linda Osmundson said...

I understand your refusal to review novels. I belong to a book club. Not sure I like all their choices. In fact, I didn't read one although I bought it. Just couldn't get into it. Everyone says it was good. I'll try again sometime later.

Dean K Miller said...

It's taken almost 25 years at my current position to start to feel a bit of burn out...though I still love it.

I hope my young writing career lasts at least that long...with constant fly fishing breaks to keep my mind and ideas refreshed!

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