Writer’s Burnout: 6 Helpful Ways Any Writer Can Use to Overcome Burnout

The article Writer’s Burnout: 6 Helpful Ways Any Writer Can Use to Overcome Burnout appeared first on The Write Practice.

Have you ever started writing a book with a burst of energy and enthusiasm? Did you feel like your fingers were flying off the keyboards, and then somewhere in the manuscript…they stopped. Have you ever become a victim to writer’s burnout?

At some point in the writing process, every writer feels exhausted.

writer's burnout

It’s hard work writing a book, let alone working full time, caring for children or pets, and any other additional responsibility you have in life.

Nothing is more frustrating than when, for one moment, you felt fully emerged in your story. The next day you’re tempted to give up on your story altogether. You’re tired. You need a rest.

First, this is normal. Second, you can overcome it!

In this article, I share my personal experience with writer’s burnout. I also suggest six helpful ways to overcome it so you can get back to writing—and not regret the time you spend with your story.

Writer’s Burnout Strikes Again

Last year, about fifteen months ago, I made a promise to myself:

I was going to start treating writing like a job and take it seriously.

I set no expectations or goals, only that I was going to start working on some aspect of my author career for a set number of hours each week and see where it takes me.

At the time I was working a fairly laid back job and desperately looking for something to focus on so I didn’t lose myself in the chaos of the pandemic and homeschooling my children. Ten hours a week, I told myself.

As it turned out, when you treat something like a job, things happen.

Soon I was writing bi-weekly articles, working on multiple new books, sending countless inquiries, and signing a publishing contract. I committed to publishing a trilogy with six months in between each book, gave talks to other writers, and networked in any way I could during pandemic conditions.

In November, I also changed to a much more demanding job where I functioned as a one-person team. I worked my day job full time, my writing job on nights and weekends, and kept two children alive somewhere in between. I worked every evening, every weekend, every holiday, every chance I had. I worked on my birthday. I worked while visiting my in-laws.

I even sought out chances to network and promote my book while away on my friend’s bachelorette weekend.

Have you found yourself in similar situations?

I launched a book while writing another book, then immediately got to working on launching another—while writing yet another.

I forgot my birthday and my anniversary because I was, you guessed it, writing.

I don’t know how many hours I work right now as an author. I lost track a long time ago. I was getting great at my writing progress and thrilled that my writing career was finally going somewhere. I thought I could keep going forever.

And then, to no one’s surprise, I burnt out.

Has this happened to you?

Looking back on it, everyone saw it coming but me.

My friends and family all told me at different times that I was doing too much and needed to slow down. “You can’t keep up this pace forever,” they’d say. I refused to believe them.

How could I get tired of doing something I loved?

I’d kept it up for over a year. Surely I can keep going.

But one day I sat in front of my computer and realized my mind was blank.

I couldn’t write. Inspiration had left me. I wanted to sleep all the time and had a difficult time concentrating on anything during the day. I had no patience for work or writing and no interest in things I used to like, and I even found myself annoyed at the people around me because I was physically and mentally tense.

Can you relate?

Most importantly, I found I didn’t enjoy the writing process anymore. Even typing a few words became a challenge.

About two months have passed since then.

I’m slowly coming out of the other end of the haze. It was something I never thought would happen to me—a writer’s burnout. The process wasn’t, and still isn’t, easy. But I’ve learned a few things about myself, most of which were very humbling.

Today I want to share with you six realizations that helped me overcome the low moments in my writer’s burnout. This way, hopefully if you find yourself in the same position, you’ll be less stubborn than me.

You’ll know what you need to do in order to successfully conquer a writer’s burnout.

At one point in our writing process, we all suffer from writer’s burnout. Learn six helpful ways to avoid writer’s burnout in this article!
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6 Helpful Ways to Overcome Writer’s Burnout

1. Admit you are burned out

This sounds easy but is actually incredibly difficult.

No one likes to admit they’re at their limit. I certainly didn’t.

In fact, I still struggle with feeling like a failure for burning out at all. How can I be such a hypocrite? I’m the one who gives talks on productivity. I’m the one who writes entire novels in six to eight weeks and teaches other people how to do it. I can’t burnout. It goes against my whole brand!

Truth is, that’s just ego talking.

We all burnout. We’re not machines that keep chugging, as much as we like to believe we are.

Burnout looks different for everyone. Some people become tired or depressed. Some people become anxious or jittery. For me, it took until I lost my passion for what I loved most to admit my tank was empty. If I had admitted it earlier, I might not have gotten to that point.

So if you feel tired, or bored, or frustrated, don’t ignore that feeling.

Take a moment and a deep breath and ask yourself if you might be doing a little too much. Be willing to recognize the signs of hitting your limit before you actually hit it. You’ll be far better off for it.

2. Ask for help

As much as we hate admitting to our limitations, we hate asking for help even more.

When I finally admitted to being burned out, I took an honest look at what I had on my plate and decided to finally ask for help.

  • I asked a friend to help me read and review the last few indie books on my plate.
  • I requested two days off work and used it to build up a cushion of articles so I could relax my writing schedule a little.
  • I asked family members to watch the children for a few extra hours.
  • I requested extra time on my current book—time I desperately needed, and time necessary to make my book the best it can be without neglecting other authoring activities. (There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a little leeway.)

With a few things off my plate, I breathed easier and took time to get organized. I also kept myself from overloading the extra time with more tasks and instead allowed myself to spread out what I need to do over more time.

Asking for help is an important step you need to take to overcome burnout. Be honest with your loved ones that you need support.

Don’t be ashamed, be proud of yourself for doing this.

3. Self-care

Self-care can be kind of a buzzword. If you google self-care, ninety percent of what comes up is bath bombs and scented candles. If all of our problems could be solved by those, then life would be a lot simpler.

Writers need to commit to their writing time. They also need to schedule time for self-care to avoid burnout.
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Real self-care is a little more complex. It involves honestly identifying what you need and what you can do to fulfill it. This may take a few tries, but once you figure it out, it’s absolutely worth it.

For me, I did a very simple thing: I learned how to nap.

I’ve never been a napper, but in the midst of burnout, I realized my energy reserves were terribly low, especially in the afternoon. Low energy led to tiring evenings when I’m supposed to be doing most of my writing.

So I decided I had nothing to lose if I gave napping a try. I had to learn how to power nap in a way that works for me: twenty minutes in the early afternoon with the lights on so I don’t fall into too deep a sleep.

Working from home in the corner of the bedroom was finally proving to be convenient for something!

This simple change has been lifesaving. I felt much more refreshed not just in the afternoons, but on a day-to-day basis.

The solution won’t be this fas

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