“Burn out” can happen to anyone. NaNoWriMo was that way for me. It was my first year doing it, but because of the stress and strain of everything during November it was extremely difficult.
As a result I didn’t feel like writing anything after that. I’ve played with some concepts, writing little bits down here and there and ultimately outlining a short story. But the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo has just been sitting there, untouched, since I finished.
I wanted to add a little more to it; it doesn’t feel complete or even good for that matter.
But I’m back at it. I’m sitting here working on the blog and on that novel. Once I’m done with it I’ll use what I learned to focus my efforts on a novel I’m exceedingly excited about. A novel I won’t be forced to complete in one month! I’m more excited about that than anything.
As a result I’ve learned a few things about getting over burn out:
1. Take a Break.
You have to take a break from these things or risk losing your excitement for them in general. I almost lost any desire to write, but gained it by stepping away for a few weeks from solid writing of any kind. I played some video games, read some books, and really stepped away from “writing” as a discipline for two complete weeks. Then…
2. Ease Yourself Back In.
It’s important to start getting back into it. Most likely you read, or else why would you want to write? Find something you enjoy reading and read it during this time. Make minor writing efforts, like working on a short story or poetry. Something creative that you can do without too much effort. We’re not looking for short stories from Mike Resnick, here, just simple things you may not even want to submit in the future. This is for you.
3. Find a Project You Can Be Excited About
This is the big takeaway for me. Find something that brings back that old excitement that got you into writing in the first place. Something that pushes you into doing what you love because you love the idea. I’m very excited for my newest science fiction novel idea, and it pushes me to want to write it this year.
I’ve found what works for me. If this helps you, then I’m glad. I just hope you can also learn how to get over writer’s burn out. Who knows, you may suffer a similar fate come November 2017?