Burn out is a problem that most will deal with at some point in their lives, and it has numerous symptoms and side effects.
One of these symptoms is feeling like you’re spinning your wheels in place whenever you try to work on your writing project.
Another symptom is becoming suddenly tired or irritable at the mere thought of your writing project.
If this sounds like you, then keep reading. Here’s an illustrated guide to dealing with burn out while you’re in the middle of a writing project.
Take a Short Break
There are a couple of reasons why you might be burnt out. The first is because you’re overworking yourself to the point of exhaustion. The second is because you’ve lost the motivation to work on your project.
Take a short break, just for a couple of days, and don’t do any work. Relax, enjoy yourself, and do something totally self-indulgent.
If you still feel awful about writing after having a break to rest up, it’s probably because you have no motivation. In which case, follow some of the next steps to get back onto the writing track.
Revisit Your Outline
An outline is like a road map of your writing project. If you’ve abandoned your outline, or simply don’t have one, then that could be why you’re lost.
So now it’s time to revisit your outline, or to make one if you don’t have an outline.
I can already hear you seat-of-the-pants writers groaning, but an outline doesn’t have to be very complicated or detailed. It could simply be a sentence that describes how you want your story to end, or a couple of words that describe the theme of your writing.
Consider Your Why-Power
If there’s a will, there’s a way.
You may have heard that saying, but it isn’t enough on its own. What you need to know is the why behind the will.
You can tell yourself that you will write a short story this month, but if you have no reason to- no ‘Why-Power’ behind your goal, then you won’t be able to accomplish it.
Your Why-Power doesn’t have to be much. But it does have to be there.
Revisit Your Inspirations
No one can work without at least some inspiration, but if you’ve been really busy or caught up in work, then your inspiration juice is running a little low.
So what do you do? You reread the books that filled your head with fancy and you re-watch those movies that kept you up until three in the morning writing fan fiction.
You revisit the things that have inspired you the most, and you also find new things to inspire you. Go see that movie you’ve been dying to watch! Go read that book that you’ve been waiting ages for!
You know that scene that you really want to write?
The one that’s super fun and will get you into a really good mood?
The one that you keep not writing because you know it won’t add anything to the plot or characters?
You know that scene? Yeah, write that scene.
I don’t care if you’ll scrap it later. Write it now, and have fun with it!
Work On Something Else
Maybe you just need an extended break. Maybe your mind needs to switch gears and think about something else for awhile. Put your project on the shelf and go do something else for awhile.
Maybe make some illustrations, or learn how to cook a ton of new meals. Make a budget, or research Norse mythology. Just do something that’ll get you thinking differently.
Then you can return to your project with fresh eyes.
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