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Saturday, May 5, 2007

How To Cope With Writing Burnout

It happens to all of us at some point. It may be after you have completed 200 keyword rich articles on garbage bins or after you have done the umpteenth rewrite of an article on a subject you find really dull. Even if you're one of the lucky ones, and you enjoy what you write most of the time, at some point you face a moment when you just don't want to write. For a day, a week, a month or even longer, the profession that you rushed to embrace suddenly seems charmless. You feel tired, drained and mentally depleted, but you've still got to make a living. What do you do to recharge your batteries and get interested again?

Some of the things I have tried include knowing when to give up on writing and walking away from the computer. Instead of writing I can read a book, go for a walk, head to the beach, play with my daughter or have a nap. These are all things that are guaranteed to get my mind off the job for a while at least.

But what if the problem lasts longer than a few hours or a day? Sometimes I can feel the mental fatigue coming and I can plan my work schedule to allow some down time. That's the best option. At other times, deadlines loom and I have to write through the pain, vowing never to do this kind of job again. Of course, I will - there are times when any writing job is better than no writing job, particularly if you have bills to pay.

All of the best advice on burnout centres on recognising the signs - stress, tiredness, etc - and on changing the circumstances quickly, by taking a break somehow. What do you do when you face burnout?

Here are some other articles on burnout that you might find interesting:


spinayarn said...

I have heard of burn out for many years, but had never been able to relate. I often got tired but never reached a point of feeling like I did not want to do any more. That has changed with the writing of the blogs to get paid. I like the extra money, but it feels much different to me than the blogs for expression or the writing of sermons and bulletin articles, and class materials.
It seems to me that the burn out rate is tied to the value you place on the activity.

BloggingWriter said...

Good point, spinayarn. If I were concentrating on creative writing, I wouldn't burn out at the same rate, I'm sure.

Katherine Huether said...

I've been dealing with burnout as well. It is something that is a real problem, especially when you are more than a week overdue for a project that you can't seem to bring yourself to complete. And I know how it feels to say, "never again" and then I find myself taking on the same work because I need it...

BloggingWriter said...

Yes, when you have to pay the bills, you can't afford to succumb to burnout, can you, Katherine? But it's tough when all you want to do is leave your computer for a couple of weeks. Hope you're over it soon.