Wednesday, May 1

Bactine for Writer's Burnout Part 8 (Alternative Hobby) / IWSG

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers of all kinds.


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. You can get writer's burnout from doing anything related to being an author.


To read my story and the tips I previously shared check out:

Sometimes, the best thing we can do is not write, to not even try to write. Yes, I said it. As I mentioned before, trying to write can make things worse, especially if you apply force. And there are times when we really do need to put our time, creativity, and soul into something unrelated to writing.

BACTINE #20: Find an alternative hobby.

That’s why, when you’re burned out or blocked, I strongly suggest you invest your time and creativity in another hobby.

I understand that many writers only have writing as a hobby, and I encourage them to find another outlet. Dig deep.

What else interests you? Surely there is something. Even the tiniest fragment of interest can expand into an activity that can fill your creativity need when you’re struggling with writing.

What have you once thought would be fun to do? Or you’d do if you had more time?
Well, it’s time to start doing it!

It can be anything, too.

- Photography
- Fashion Design
- Scrapbooking
- Gardening
- Baking/Cooking
- Painting/Sketching
- Calligraphy
- Origami
- Yo-yoing
- Gaming
- Yoga
- Cross-stitch/Knitting/Crocheting/Quilting
- Hooping
- Axe Throwing

Anything!

You don’t have to be a pro, either. You just have to enjoy it.

We can all use more hobbies. Why? Because hobbies relax us and fill us with joy, and we need that. We need something to relieve our stress. We need something to sink into outside of our stories’ worlds. And when we spend time with a hobby that’s not writing-related, we are opening ourselves to sparks of inspiration. While you’re scrapbooking or gardening, an idea can pop into your head on how to fix the plot you were stuck on or a character that wasn’t turning out right.


BACTINE #21: Try another form of writing.

Maybe writing is the only hobby you want to do. Well, then I suggest trying another outlet for writing other than fiction writing, or even non-fiction writing, such a poetry or song-lyric writing. These two forms of writing offer a sense of freedom that writing a book may not. They also up the caliber artistic-wise. Writing a poem or song can engage a different part of your creativity, inspire you, and invigorate you, possibly even motivate you to get back to work on your book.

Write poems/songs about anything.

I’ve written songs about events that have happened in my stories, about my characters, and their love stories.

You can write poems/songs inspired by your characters and the plot events in your story, too, as a way to stay in the game while also exploring another creative outlet.



Another Bactine post for Writer’s Burnout coming soon!



QUESTIONS: What hobby do you want to pick up? And I know the IWSG asked this earlier this year, but what other hobbies (creative outlets) do you have other than writing? You can share your answers here. :)

83 comments:

  1. Some useful tips about Writer's Burnout Chrys, Since my son passed away I find it hard to write at times (a) because I'm not going anywhere and (b) I get overwhelmed with how my life has turned out. Thanks again for the tips.

    Yvonne.

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  2. I like to take the occasional art class, like a one day or half day class. I always learn something, and I come away feeling creative.

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  3. This was very helpful, Chrys. I've just entered a sort of writing transformation, myself. Lots to think about. Thank you!

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  4. I'm also a pro photographer by trade and enjoy that. Plus I'm a crafty person and like to make stuff. I don't have much time for any of it but I enjoy it when I can.

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    1. Taking a little more time for yourself to do those things you enjoy could make all the difference.

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  5. Gardening is my hobby. I used to do lots of other things, but right now gardening is it for me. That and watching films!

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    1. Gardening is great, and very rewarding when you see what you've done and things start to grow. :)

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  6. Great tips as always. I haven't gotten to the point of writers burnout yet, but I can see how that could easily happen. It's smart to have another hobby / creative outlet already in the works for when that happens.

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    1. Thanks! Another hobby can be a lifesaver.

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  7. Mark Twain himself suffered burn-out with Tom Sawyer. A vacation away from it for 2 years recharged his muse and off he went! :-)

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    1. Two years. Wow. I did struggle to write for over a year, and it was brutal.

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  8. That's why I enjoy playing my guitar. It gives me another creative outlet.

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  9. I'll always encourage people to take up knitting ;)

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  10. Axe throwing for the win!

    I wrote poems about events in my first book that my musician friend then turned into songs that he published on an album. It was a cool exercise.

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    1. I would love to try axe throwing.

      That is so cool! I write song lyrics. Well, I used to. I have many. Not sure if they are any good, but I've always wanted them to be made into songs.

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  11. I've now started cooking as a hobby. As well as meditation to keep my focussed and calm.

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    1. That is wonderful, Rachna! Cooking is a great hobby. I've tried to take up meditation. It didn't stick, but I've been wanting to try it again.

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  12. Good suggestion--try another form of writing. That actually works well for me.

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  13. My dream hobby is collecting, repairing, and showing antique and early classic cars (1890s to about 1950), but I haven't the money or space. Hopefully someday.

    I collect coins, stamps, marbles, and vinyl records, as well as cross-stitching and drawing with pastels, watercolor pencils, and colored pencils.

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    1. That sounds like a neat hobby. I hope you can start it one day. :)

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  14. Good advice. I love writing poetry and playing with Photoshop Elements. A change is as good as a rest... so they say. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  15. I love photography. I adore urban exploration. I also am addicted to reading. But, hey, it's my job to read as a librarian:-) Good advice!

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    1. I love photography, too. And reading, of course. :)

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  16. I should probably get some more hobbies. If I'm not writing, I'm probably just watching TV! I do like to bake, but only for special occasions. Otherwise I'd be eating all those treats myself!

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    1. I like to bake, too, but haven't done it in a long time. I like to bake bread. :)

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  17. These are great tips, Chrys. It's taken me five years after the loss of my husband to have any drive to write even for myself. Stepping back and not forcing it really helped. And thankfully most of this time I still love reading.

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    1. Not forcing it is key, especially in true times of struggle.

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  18. Good idea. Or for the hobbyless, like me, cleaning or organizing something makes me feel inspired.

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  19. I do have another creative hobby: I make pre-made book covers. Although nobody asked for any of them yet (except the 30 book covers I made for wattpad writers), it gives me tremendous satisfaction. My covers are like visual stories, with no writing required.
    I also like your idea of writing poetry about the events and characters in my stories. I'll try it.

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    1. I didn't know that you made pre-made covers. I made need some at some point. I'll have to remember that. :)

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  20. Good advice (as always!!) Chrys. Burn out is hard - and climbing out can be harder.
    I am with you on the power of hobbies. I inherited a piano a few years back and have been playing again since. It really does make a difference!

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    1. Climbing out can be very hard.

      I'm glad you're playing the piano again! :)

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  21. I love these tips! The last few years have been challenging, and in the midst of one illness when I couldn't seem to write, I sat out in the sunshine and practiced making origami birds. It really helped to not write, but to create and to be outside.

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    1. Sunshine (vitamin D) and a new activity are great pick-me-ups.

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  22. haha some good suggestions, but I think I'll skip the axe throwing.

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  23. I like to run. I'm not competitive, by any means, but it clears my head and makes me feel great! Also, I've been dabbling in poetry. There's so much less stress for me there.

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    1. I always wished I could be a runner. I envy those who are. :)

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  24. Expending all of your creative energy on a single thing... even writing!... is like putting all of your proverbial eggs into one basket. The more diversity we have in our interests, the less likely we are to get burned out. If one thing wanes, we can concentrate on something else for a while.

    Great tips!

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    1. Yes, shifting out concentration from one hobby to another can rekindle our passion for another.

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  25. Excellent advice for writer's burnout. I've never heard that term before. I don't start a new hobby so much as to get me away from writing, but I do go on a cleaning frenzy and attack dirt, dust, sticky icky corners and windows, etc. I especially love organizing the closets and pitching or recycling clothing and items. Then I have a clear mind for writing again.
    JQ Rose

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    1. It's just like normal burnout (job burnout or athlete's burnout), but this is related towards writers.

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  26. I get burnout denial. All. Of. The. Time.
    I tell myself, "I'm not burnt out. I'm just "busy". Excuses after excuses. Next thing I know a week goes by and I'm terrified at my lack of progress.
    Hobbies are so key. Again, your insightful post hit the guitar string/ painting on the head.

    Cheers Chrys!

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    1. I was in denial for a while until it really struck me that...yup, I'm burned out. Big time.

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  27. for some reason, I had a strong desire to learn screenwriting format recently. So I did it for TV episode I liked. It was an interesting thing to learn, and completely different from manuscript format.

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    1. That sounds like a fun creative outlet for writers!

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  28. When I need a break, I do jigsaw puzzle. Big ones, 2000 pieces or larger and they have to have a challenging scene. I used to do a lot of cross stitch, but not so much. And I work out more.

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  29. I’m interested in a lot more than writing; gardening, photography, baking (lol, can’t believe I said that last one), pottery throwing, jewelry making. I just wish I had more time! Thanks for this, Chrys!

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  30. Axe throwing. LOL. My my aiming skills, that's just asking for trouble ;-) Great post! Depending on my mood, I'll either be outside -- mostly on the compost heap -- or I'll be sewing.

    Ronel visiting for #IWSG day: Help Me, Please!

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    1. Yup, you'd have to have excellent aim for that one.

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  31. As always, good post:)
    I'm trying to read more historical biographies and teach myself to draw.

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    1. That's great! Enjoy the biographies and your drawing time. :)

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  32. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and for another great tip. When I find myself lacking in creativity, I cook or bake. Sometimes I even paint. You are right. Doing something non-writing related does help me feel motivated or inspired when I return to writing.

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    1. Of course! I try to visit your blog on very IWSG Day. :)

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  33. Writing is my favourite pastime but I do have to take breaks sometimes. For me, trying to force things doesn't seem very productive! I like to walk, read and I do yoga.

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    1. Writing is my favorite pastime, too...when I have time to write. *sigh*

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  34. Good ideas, but I have plenty of hobbies and not sure what new ones I might add (although Ax-throwing sounds intriguing, but I am afraid I might decide to use the hobby the wrong way and end up behind bars).

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    1. You don't need a new one. If you have plenty, use one of those to help you from sinking into burnout.

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  35. I did eventually recover from my own bout of burnout, but it took months. Right now, I'm interested in getting back into German Longsword, which I used to practice with my husband. After picking up a violin at a festival a week or two ago, I'm considering taking violin lessons, too.

    Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday. Your support means a lot.

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    1. It took me many months, too. It is tough.

      I always wanted to learn to play the violin, but not I want to learn how to play the cello.

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  36. I like to learn a new skill each year. Most years I forget to do it or start and don't finish. This is the year is no different.

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    1. A new skill each year? That's an interesting goal/idea. I like it!

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  37. I don't really since I made writing something more than a hobbby. I sketch some but not often but I do love it and should do it more. I read but that also changed for me with the writing thing. I use to travel when I could get out more and stay on my feel. I use to love being on a boat like a sunset cruise etc, but it has been a long time since I have done that.

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  38. That's it! For me, I go outside for a walk. It doesn't matter the weather. I just dress for it. I take my thoughts, my struggles, my problems in writing and lift my chin to be sure to capture my surroundings as I walk. Thanks for another great post, Chrys.

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    1. Walking is a great way to free our minds, relax, and even get ideas. It's a great thing to do. :)

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  39. Exploring something new often gets those writing juices going for me. Usually, I just hit some projects for a couple of days that I've left laying around or simply driving to different places in the area for a little fun with my mother. Great tips!

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    1. A day out with Mom can be just the ticket. I like to bring my mom to the flea market or to even Goodwill or thrift stores. It's nice to get out. :)

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  40. I do a fair bit of photography, which would be a nice diversion from writing if it weren't that it takes an immense amount of time. I'm not willing to just take pictures and put them all in an album and carry on. I have to edit and curate them until the collection doesn't embarrass me.

    Maybe I need to resume my watercolors. I can't delude myself into thinking any of that will ever be art :D

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  41. I don't really have any other hobbies any more, so I need to reinvest in that. I did enjoy writing (very bad) song lyrics when I was younger, and even wrote a couple of poems recently. I totally see how it could spark off something that would help with a writing project you're stuck on.

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  42. Fantastic tips. Yes, sometimes all we can do is step away and try something else for a while. I game with friends and that sparks all sorts of ideas.

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