Writer Burnout? Full Steam Ahead!

full steam aheadby Catherine L. Tully

Have you ever suffered from burnout? Most writers have–and it can be really bad too. Burnout makes you hate doing the things you usually don’t mind doing. It also makes you really hate doing things you really don’t like in the first place.

I doubt I have to go into what burnout feels like as most of us have experienced it at one time or another. The big question is…what do you do to get back on track? How do you get past that nasty feeling of hating your job and everything that comes with it?

You work harder.

Now this may at first seem counterintuitive, but I am going somewhere with it, so bear with me here…

Writers tend to suffer from burnout for two main reasons:

1. They are doing a lot of low-paying work that they don’t enjoy to make ends meet and are getting sick of it, and

2. They haven’t been taking breaks.

There are other reasons too, but these are two of the big ones. And you can solve both of them by working harder. To address the first one–if you are killing yourself writing stuff that isn’t gratifying, it may be time to put in some extra hours to pursue the kind of writing you’d like to be doing as well. This will give you a reason to have hope, and if you do connect with something better you can probably dial your schedule back a bit.

If you are the type of writer who hasn’t had a break in a long time–take one. Now I know you can’t just stop working, but you can work ahead. Put in a really solid week and get everything you can off of your plate for the following week. Then do as little as possible. Watch mindless TV. Get your nails done. Go fishing. Seriously.

Writer burnout doesn’t have to be a nightmare. You can learn to implement some coping strategies that will help you deal with that tired out feeling and get yourself back in top shape in short order. Give it a shot. It works.