Thursday, August 9, 2007

Burn Out

by Heather Moore

It’s easy to hit burn out as a writer . . . especially if you feel like you aren’t progressing. Writing is the art of hurry up and wait. Hurry and finish the novel. Hurry and submit. Wait, then wait some more.

Here are some suggestions that might jumpstart your creativity and motivation:

1. Consider something new. Writing a novel but you’ve hit writer’s block? Write a short story or an article and submit to on-line magazines.

2. Take a break. A real one. Paint the room you’ve put off, work in the garden, or throw together a last minute weekend trip. No writing, maybe a little reading, but mostly just experience.

3. Music. I used to think this would be distracting, but when I put together a play list on my computer, I was surprised at how motivating it was. I found myself typing to the rhythm and checking my emails much less often.

4. Guilty reading. When I’m working on a new novel, I feel like I can’t read for pleasure. But sometimes it’s great to get outside of your head for awhile and into someone else’s.

5. Mix up critique. I faithfully take my current novel to critique. But last night, I took a query letter. I received excellent feedback on some things I had “overwritten.”

6. Dissect a book. You’ll find that your favorite writer isn’t as intimidating as you thought. In fact, sometimes the writing is quite straightforward. By analyzing writing techniques of another author, you’ll see just how possible it is to bring everything together.

7. Set a goal. Then reward yourself. The time, place, and item is your choice.

8. Writer’s Conference. Every conference I’ve attended, I’ve come away feeling recharged. Instead of thinking “There’s too much competition,” think, “If they can do it, why can’t I?”

Okay. Now it’s your turn. What are some things that motivate you?


Tristi Pinkston said...

To go along with taking a break, sometimes I need to immerse myself in good books and movies. I need to entertain myself, get my brain working a whole new way, and have some fun, too. Oh, and chocolate always helps.

Stephanie said...

Sometimes I get so involved in writing that I neglect myself, Sleep and exercise in particular. So when I get burned out, I make sure I get to bed on time for awhile until I am recharged. (This works for me because I do so much of my writing too late at night.)

Heather B. Moore said...

Great ideas. A good movie can get your creative juices flowing. And I do the same thing, Stephanie. I forget about myself when I'm madly writing.

Andi Sherwood said...

You mentioned the music... I actually create a soundtrack for my books. When I listen to them, they inspire me because of the mood they create. I will listen to them in the car and such as well and then I can't wait to get home and start writing.

Lu Ann Brobst Staheli said...

Great advice, Heather. Thanks.

Julie Wright said...

fabulous Blog Heather. I spent two months in this burn out phase and taking the time off was good for me.

Janette Rallison said...

All great suggestions. I think I've used them all. Sometimes I just have to write even though I'm blocked. Someone told me that event though you're writing garbage--it's compost, and out of compost comes living things.