How To Avoid Writer’s Burnout

It sneaks up on us, but you can avoid writer's burnout. Here's how.
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You are a super writer. You’re making time to write without quitting your job or skipping out on the rest of your life.

But taking all this on can take a toll on your emotional health.

Writing should enhance your life. If balancing your writing dreams with your daily reality leaves you feeling overwhelmed or stressed for weeks, then you are on the fast track to writer’s burnout.

What is Writer’s Burnout?

Writer’s burnout isn’t writer’s block. It’s not even the lack of ideas or creativity.

(Writers experience similar symptoms when suffering from writer’s crisis, but the causal roots are not the same.)

So, what is it? Writer’s burnout is the physical and/or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.

Here’s how writer’s burnout starts. You churn out strong content for your story or your freelance assignment. That’s normal. You’ve adapted to the pressure of writing so many pages or meeting a tight deadline in between other non-negotiable life demands. It’s tough, but you make it work.

That’s the start of it.

You let this go on for days, weeks, months. The deadlines are always ASAP and your life situations won’t take a rain check. Your brain is now a content generating factory and you are now a robot.

No matter what the Internet says, this is not normal.

Now the content you write isn’t as deep or exciting. You resent your mediocre writing. You write to get the project done by the skin of your teeth. Writing in your free time is a thing of your past.

If this is you, then you have reached writer’s burnout.

What Are The Symptoms of Writer’s Burnout?

Writer’s burnout is a gradual process that is unfortunately not recognized until too late. But there are signs that you’re heading down the wrong path, even in its early stages.

You’ve hit writer’s burnout if you’re experiencing these symptoms:

  • Emotional or mental exhaustion
  • Lack of motivation or an unwillingness to write further
  • Frustration with your writing and/or life situations
  • Declining writing quality and quantity
  • Feeling apathetic towards your writing

Ways To Beat Writer’s Burnout

Writer’s burnout happens because your nose is too close to the page. To avoid writer’s burnout, you’ll need to develop a big picture view of your life in order to commit to your writing as well as everything else you value in your life.

Organize

Know all your writing deadlines in advance to avoid writer’s burnout. Use smartphone calendar apps for reminders on assignment due dates and use planners to sketch out your schedule so that creating time to write fits flawlessly into your day.

Break down big writing assignments or writing goals into smaller, more achievable tasks so that you maintain your writing motivation.

Set Reasonable Goals

Decide when to say yes—and when to say no. Be reasonable as to what you can really do this week or this month to avoid writer’s burnout. What writing assignments can you take on with confidence? What writing goals can you realistically meet this week?

Know your priorities. Make a list on what you want to achieve in your life as well as your writing this month. What are your true values? Then reassess your weekly schedule. Does this task help you reach these goals or values?

Mind Your Health

Don’t ignore your physical or emotional well-being because a writing deadline is looming. To avoid writer’s burnout, you must take care of you.

Take on exercise for your writing that you enjoy to curb your stress. Eat the right foods for your creativity. Make it a habit to catch eight hours of sleep for your writing.

Relax

How can you relax when there’s so much to get done? You just do.

Stepping away from your writing—even for fifteen minutes—can be the difference between feeling refreshed and feeling overwhelmed. Immerse yourself in a hobby or activity that makes you happy. That way, you de-stress and feel refreshed when it’s time to pick up your pen.

If your writing is suffering due to prolonged stress, contact a professional. By acting now, you can avoid writer’s burnout from further harming your health.

Have you suffered from writer’s burnout? Share your experience below.

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