Coping with Burnout: Eight Cures for Writer’s Block
by Renee Rose
I have this auto-immune condition, one of the rheumatoid arthritis syndromes. When I have a flare-up, I get pink eye (in both eyes), my joints seize and I feel heavier than a ton of bricks. It’s a lame condition for someone of my temperament. I’m a dancer, for one thing, so arthritic joints totally screw up my ability to teach classes. Secondly, I’m the kind of person who never stops. So I don’t appreciate the interruption, especially when I can’t see my damn computer screen to type!
I’m in the middle of a flare-up now, and my friend pointed out that maybe it was a sign for me to give myself a break. She reminded me how I had been complaining about feeling burnout about my writing lately anyway. Maybe it was all a sign. She suggested I give myself a week to a week and a half off, and then see where I was.
As it turned out, it was good advice. As soon as I took the pressure off myself to be glued to my computer, the blahs went away. Sometimes we just need permission not to write to find your mojo. I compiled a list of things that have helped me when I’m stuck. Let me know if you have other ones, too.
Eight ideas for coping with burnout:
1). Give yourself a prescribed time period off from writing (but don’t be surprised if you come back to it sooner than the end point).
2). Read something new– a new author, new genre or different kind of story. You may find inspiration in it.
3). Get outside. Take a hike, a walk, or go swimming. Physical activity and the outdoors change up our energy.
4). Work on promotion instead of writing. You don’t know where your story’s going? Fine, go spend 30 minutes tweeting, or networking or some other form of marketing for your back list.
5). Go see a movie, or better yet, have a movie binge. I almost always find inspiration in movies.
6). Read one of your old stories that you love. It will remind you how kick-ass a writer you are.
7). Offer to beta read for a friend–editing to me is so much easier than writing, yet I feel productive doing it, and it helps me learn about my own craft.
8). Relax. The more pressure you put on yourself, the worse it gets. Take time for yourself– get a massage, manicure, new haircut or whatever feels indulgent to you. Tell yourself you deserve it– you’ve been working hard and this is your off time.
What method do you have for coping with burnout? I’d love to hear them!