Are you dealing with writer’s burnout? You love writing, but you can’t focus on a blank page. You don’t find the same joy and passion for your story as you once did. You’re more stressed than inspired, and every day that you don’t write, that stress becomes worse, making writing even more difficult. Sometimes you wonder if you even want to write at all.
If these sentences ring a bell for you, you may be experiencing writer’s burnout.
It’s different from writer’s block. When you suffer from writer’s block, you are inspired and motivated, but the ideas won’t come. You have no idea how to untangle a plot snare, for instance, or even what to write on the next page.
With writer’s burnout, as with any kind of creative or professional burnout, you are overworked and overburdened. You can write, but it’s a very unpleasant chore, and you begin to question whether you are truly interested in, or cut out, for writing in general.
Writer’s burnout can happen for many reasons, including pressure to succeed, a necessity to write for a specific audience, lack of downtime, lack of rewards or recognition, and a general desire for perfection.
Unfortunately, writer’s burnout doesn’t have a quick and easy fix. But there are some tips for writer burnout that can help you rejuvenate your work.
The first and best tip for writer’s burnout is to remind yourself why you write. You began this hobby or profession for a reason; what is it? What has caused you to forget your initial passion?
Along the same lines, after reflecting on why you write, revisit old stories that inspired you—and make an effort to find new ones. What did you love about your favorite book or film? How can you adapt it and make it your own?
Challenge yourself, too, to broaden your horizons, and read or watch genres you’ve never explored before, or to learn new things and take up different hobbies. You may be surprised by what ignites a spark of interest and passion in you and gets the gears turning in your mind.
Another important tip for writer’s burnout is that you can’t be afraid to take some time off, especially if you use that time to inspire yourself. If you feel overworked and overburdened, there’s no shame in stepping away from the writing for a time. You’ll come back to your writing with fresh eyes.
At the same time, don’t give up on writing completely. Remind yourself, again, why you write, and schedule some time to find the joy in it again. It can be as little as half an hour a day. Follow your stream of consciousness, or make a story out of an interaction with your barista earlier in the day. Give yourself permission to write about whatever you want, whether or not it’s good or useful.
Finally, the last tip for writer’s burnout is to stop worrying about things like “good” or “useful” at all. Don’t compare yourself to other writers, don’t pressure yourself to have achieved certain milestones. Write for the joy of writing, of being inspired, of telling a story no one else can tell.
Follow these tips, and your writer’s burnout will end before you know it.