Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Avoiding Writer Burnout

by M. J. Joachim
Updated 11/6/15

According to the Association for Psychological Science, as of March 2014, “Burnout syndrome” — that is, the fatigue, cynicism, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress — may play a significant role in this trend.” That is, more than 10 million people being unemployed in the United States, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Burnout, a type of psychological stress, is defined as a lack of energy or enthusiasm for one’s work or occupation. It is the essence of sluggishness, brought on by working too hard, thinking too much or expending oneself too frequently. Writer burnout causes one to lose focus, thereby influencing writer’s block and the inability to produce more words for publication. In its simplest terms, writer burnout is boredom, clearly indicated when a writer is too bored to sit as the computer and keep writing; because of this, the same writer suffers from a lack of words, not because there are no words to write, but because the words available are boring and lack the enthusiasm necessary to put them on the page.

Losing your mojo, being easily distracted and allowing yourself to do anything except write, sitting at your computer and being unable to write, these are all signs of writer burnout, and they have the ability to negatively affect writers in a variety of ways, not the least of which is to prevent them from producing words their fans are waiting so eagerly to read.

Avoiding writer burnout can be as easy as reenergizing your spirit, which can be done by doing anything that makes you feel alive again. First you need to be okay with the fact that you aren’t in a writing frame of mind, and once you accept the inevitable, you’ll restore your writing spirit, which will ultimately restore your writing muse.

Easier said than done, right? Yes! You already know the answer. When you can’t write for any reason whatsoever, not the least of which is writer’s burnout or writer’s block, you need to take a break. You need to see new things, enjoy new experiences and reconnect with society, be it family, friends or strangers. The alternative is driving yourself crazy, sitting at your computer and kicking yourself for not being able to write. Personally, none of these things sound very healthy or intelligent, because all they do is prolong the inevitable, because once you’re finished riding yourself like a horse, you’ll need to take a break anyway, and once you do that, your burnout will disappear and you’ll be ready to sit at your computer and write again, chances are with words flowing faster than you can type them.

M. J. Joachim
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