Kids, today I’m going to tell you about a scary ailment that hits us novelists (and writers in general) from time to time. It’s something I feel I have to tell you about, because vets tend to not talk about it. And I didn’t know it could happen. As a result, it felt so much worse than it should have.
You know… that feeling where you’ll rather clean your eldest son’s smelly sock drawer. Or where you sit down in front of your writing medium of choice, but just can’t form the words into cohesive sentences.
It isn’t writer’s block. Writer’s block is what happens if you’ve painted yourself into a corner without realizing it. A short wait and a bit of writing generally solves the worst (although it can sometimes take a while for the paint to dry).
I’m talking about feeling like a wrung out sponge. An old prune with the interesting juices sucked out of you. I’m talking about feeling as if you’d been bled dry.
Worst of all, it feels like you have nothing to say.
Not a poem. Not a flash fic.
Not even a blog post.
And it sucks.
What’s the solution? Well…
you make a blood sacrifice to your muse You take a break. From most writing. Or, if that doesn’t help, from all of it.
You see, burn-out usually happens because you pushed yourself too hard. My worst burn-outs happen after bursts of intense productivity.
So pushing yourself even harder to get writing done will just burn you out more.
Instead, go take walks in beautiful places. Read an amazing book. Go to art galleries. Go explore somewhere new. Anything. After a while, that urge to write will strike you with a vengeance. Often as a result of something you were doing at the time.
Once that urge starts, get writing as much as you can.
What was the worst case of burn-out you ever suffered? What did you do to recover?