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What is writer’s burnout?
Burnout is very different from writer’s block. It’s worse. Writer’s burnout is something you feel deep down…bone-deep. It’s just like when athletes burnout from working themselves too hard and too much for too long. They can lose their love of the sport, physically and mentally.
To read my story and the 3 tips I previously shared check out:
Bactine for Writer’s Burnout Part 1 (Speak) Tips 1 - 3
More Tips to Help You START Reversing Writer’s Burnout:
BACTINE #4: Write about yourself.
I know many people hate the rule “write what you know” for how restrictive it is, and I write about things I have to research all the time, but in this case…writing what you know really does help.
When you write about yourself, things you know and have experienced, you don’t have to worry about being vivid or creating good dialogue. You don’t have to worry about hooks, passive voice, slipping tenses, or all the “rules” that are floating around. Just write what you remember. You can add all the details you want, though, including what you saw, smelled, tasted, felt, and all of the emotions you had then, but there’s no pressure to be perfect. And you don’t have to worry about revising what you wrote. This is for you.
To get yourself writing again, don’t push yourself to write your current WIP.
I did this. A lot. And it just made my burnout worse.
Don’t try to write another project.
I did this, too. I would be positive about it for a couple of days and then plummet, which would make me feel even more worse about myself.
Don’t even try to write flash fiction.
It may work for some time, but if you have writer’s burnout, forcing yourself to write flash fiction, especially if you have a goal to write one flash fiction piece a week or a month, it can burn you out even more than before you started.
Start with YOU.
After I shared my truth and my struggle on Facebook (see Part 1), I started to write about me. Young me. Elementary school, middle school, and high school me. It was cathartic and revealing. I wrote about being bullied by my siblings and by other kids in school. I wrote about growing into a little woman. I got to explore lessons I learned and my hardships and how things from my past have shaped me.
I wrote these memories into essay form. Some were a single page. Others were a few pages long. Length doesn’t matter as long as you write.
BACTINE #5: Write essays or journal entries. There’s no pressure with this simple format as there is to write a novel or short story.
- Memories. Those memories that pop into your head at random about your childhood, school life, or work life. Things that you have maybe even said you should write down for yourself or your children or grandchildren.
- Lessons. What were some tough lessons you learned as a child, teen, young adult, man, woman, parent?
- Experiences. What are things you’ve done?
- Thoughts. What do you think?
- Your writing journey. Start from the beginning and write about your hopes, dreams, and struggles all the way to where you are now. Yes, even write about your burnout, your struggle, and how much it sucks.
BACTINE #6: Create a meaty list of topics/memories you can write about and work your way down the list one essay at a time. No pressure.
I had a list, and when I would write one essay on a similar topic/memory, I would then want to write another. This is how I wrote 7 essays on my first attempt to reverse my burnout.
BACTINE #7: If possible, write at least one memory a day. Remember, the length doesn’t matter. Just write what you remember.
BACTINE #8: And, again…reward yourself. Always.
More Bactine posts for Writer’s Burnout coming soon!
QUESTIONS: Have you ever written down your childhood memories? Or wanted to?