WEDNESDAY WRITING TIP: BURNOUT

Posted: May 12, 2010 in Wednesday's Writing Tip

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I’m not sure if this is a writing tip or a query for feedback.

I make a good portion of my income from writing. It’s also one of my main sources of pleasure.

If you’ve read this crappy blog with any sort of regularity you know I’m big on the no excuse, just do it bullshit to slog through things.

I wonder though some times if you can over do it. Can you go to the creative well too often? Can you tap out that energy that helps you sling words together in a marginally readable form?

And what does one do when the deadlines are there, the cash is needed and you’ve made commitments?

Do you need a few days a way, a trip to the spa or maybe just a different type of writing? I write novel length fiction as an artistic passion ( I just completed my fourth in four years and I got 2/3 of another written.) I do about 20 freelance articles a year and a daily blog along with my full time job as communications direction for a nonprofit. The full time gig is mostly writing with newsletters, web content, work blog, annual report, letters speeches and brochures.

I love to write.

It’s been a stressful week and I’ve got some big deal stuff in another non-writing side hustle of mine in the next six weeks.

My usual advice is to toughen up and get going.

Is that the wrong strategy?

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Comments
  1. Jen Forbus says:

    I’m no expert, but my guess would be that you aren’t burnt out on the writing itself, it’s the amount you’ve undertaken. The weight of that many commitments and obligations are probably more of what’s causing you stress.

    I always said I got burnt out on teaching: I was working almost every waking hour between actual teaching, prepping, researching, planning, grading, administrative mumbo jumbo, continuing ed…but that wasn’t what made me leave, made me feel burnt out. The teaching I loved and would still probably be doing it today. The part that burnt me out was the political BS, the parental BS, the apathy on the part of everyone. Because I loved teaching so much, because I was so passionate about it, I couldn’t NOT let the other stuff affect me.

    But, like I said, I’m no expert and I’m not trying to project myself onto you. Just a thought.

  2. Doug says:

    I dig your feelings. I’ve written four books in 40 years… (oops not real successful) and have written a couple of blogs and some other projects. I like to write too. Communication, art, inspiration. I like having my ego stroked, and cash is a great ego stroker. Burnout has come for me from not meeting my expectations (not goals, different head game).

    I haven’t gotten what I really want out of writing which is to be respected and well known for my skill at creating fiction. So I loose my enthusiasm. I get burned out. And no one will ever get the chance to decide whether I’m that good or not.

    Have you got what you really want out of writing? Money, Fame, self satisfaction?

    Sorry I haven’t got an answer, just another question.

  3. On the one hand, you’ve got the “playing through pain” thing, but on the other, if you use too much force on your tools, they’re going to break. I love my job and look forward to going to work every day, but I enjoy my vacations, too.

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