Any activity, when put on “repeat,” can get boring. Even if writing is your passion, focussing on it day after day can make it seem more like a chore than a vocation. This is especially true if writing is your day job. Often having to write takes the fun right out of it and it’s easy to end up feeling burned out when staring at a never-ending list of jobs to tackle. To help you avoid this dreaded, but common, sense of “writer’s burnout,” here are seven tips to keep you creative and loving your craft.
1) Force Yourself to Take a Break
Writing through lunch, dinner and into the wee hours of the morning may help you make your deadline but will only leave you resenting the toll the project took on your health and personal life. Force yourself to take a fifteen-minute breather or proper lunch break during your writing day, as you would with any job, to make sure you give yourself the appropriate time to refresh.
2) Try Something New
If your job or preferred genre has you sticking to a very narrowly focused type of writing it is easy to get the itch to branch out. Allow yourself a brief interlude and try a new format or style to not only further develop your creativity but also to remember just why it is you normally write the way you do!
3) Connect with Real-Life People
Writing tends to be a pretty solitary experience, and it’s not uncommon to emerge from a particularly intense period and realise you haven’t seen your friends or family in days. Take some time away from work and have a conversation with an actual person, rather than one on the page. This sort of oral communication (not to mention active listening!) can reinvigorate you and help stave off the sense of loneliness than can seep in.
4) Know When to Say “Enough”
The thing about writing it is that is largely subjective. The further you read and reread, the more alternative word choices you are going to think up. Trust us, you will end up driving yourself crazy this way so it is important to know when to say “enough is enough.” Setting deadlines for the final proofing process is an important step in keeping your sanity and not second- (or third-) guessing all your instincts.
It’s easy to feel like the walls are closing in on you, especially if they are literally closing in on you. If your available desk space keeps shrinking due to endless stacks of drafts, research papers and even last week’s lunches, you’re going to feel walled in very quickly. Give yourself room to breathe (and even to grow) by taking a moment to de-clutter your workspace before being overwhelmed by “stuff.”
6) Accept Your Feelings
You are not alone if you get bored with writing. Even if you feel so sick of it that you never want to see another word again, you will make it through the burnout. Allow yourself to ride out whatever it is that you’re feeling without trying to force yourself back into a happy energetic state. If you try to fight it, you’re more likely to just tire yourself out, so get a head start on the recovery process by acknowledging the burnout and getting on with it.
7) Laugh It Off
Former writer and current “book coach” Jennie Nash has experienced it all when it comes to burnout, rejection and the other disheartening aspects of pursuing a writing career. She’s written a hilarious book called The Writer’s Guide to Agony and Defeat containing forty-three relatable tales from her experiences trying to get a book published. Pick up a copy of the book for a laugh and a sense of not feeling alone, or check out each post online: http://jennienash.com/the-writers-guide-to-agony-and-defeat/.