Avoiding burn out

Yesterday I talked about pushing your boundaries as a writer and challenging yourself to do more. How did you do?

I bet you rocked it!

But there can be a downside to all this greatness and it's a biggie: writer burnout.

It happens when you sit down at your computer and glare at the open document. This isn't a case of block where you don't know what to write. This is an instance of not wanting to write it. Of being so sick of this book you would hurl it across the room if you could muster the energy to print it out and bind it.

You don't want to be this guy Source


It's crucial that we recognize the signs of burn-out and learn how to step in before we get there. This will be different for everyone, but usually includes a declining interest in your story. You might even start doubting some of your characters and plot points because it all starts to sound stupid. Now, your book may be a hot mess, but in the middle of crafting the first draft is not the time to analyze your story.

When you start to feel the burn-out coming along, it's time to step away from the computer. Your story will still be there when you get back. Go do something else completely separate from your writing. Take a walk, dig in the flower bed, wash the dishes, get some coffee with a friend; anything that gives you and your manuscript a little space.

You'll know it's time to start writing again when the voices in your head (we call them characters to make us sound less crazy) start talking again. When that happens pulls out the pen or laptop and get to writing.