Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Dealing with Burnout

So you finished NaNoWriMo! Now it’s time for revisions, finding CPs and beta readers, more revisions, potentially working with a sensitivity reader, even more revisions, query writing, looking for agents, writing a synopsis…


I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I finished NaNoWriMo, I was tired. Bone-tired, exhausted, no-I-will-not-go-to-school-today dead on my feet. Or in my writing chair. Whatever. It didn’t help that I’d just moved 500 miles and had to get our apartment put together while also starting a new job, all during NaNoWriMo. With 50,000 words written at the end of the month, I thought I’d be pumped to set my NaNoWriMo manuscript aside and start revisions on my other manuscript in December. I’m on my last round of revisions, after all, and the sooner I get them done, the sooner my agent can start sending my work out!

Well, days went by, and I wasn’t getting anything done. I really wanted to, but the thought of scrutinizing every word, sentence, and page got me worn out just thinking about it. So I finally realized that there was no other way around it: I am burned. out.

Burnout is hard in any profession. Getting tired of doing your usual tasks is rough, and it makes getting anything at all done difficult. When I go to my 9-to-5, I can at least force myself to get job done because I know I have to (and, honestly, because I’m getting paid to do it). I can’t just sit around and do nothing when I don’t want to do my work. When it comes to writing, though, there’s no urgent deadline. Every deadline I have is set by myself, and when I come home from my job, it’s really hard to be motivated.

I thought about setting hard deadlines. I thought about staying up late to smash through the revisions. I even thought about taking a day off from work. Unfortunately, though, there's no cure-all for burnout. You can't just have a cup of tea and be back to full charge, or rest for a day and *poof* you're all better. It takes time to overcome, and as painful as that is, the longer I let myself rest, the more ready I feel to get back to writing.

So I’m trying to take a break. I’m laying off my manuscripts and going on hiatus from Twitter. I was spending way too much time on those daily hashtag games, anyway. If you keep finding yourself procrastinating instead of writing, stop and think for a moment. Sure, maybe you’re just procrastinating for the sake of procrastinating. But maybe, after a really intense month of hammering out a few thousand or a few hundred or even a few dozen words a day, you need a break, too. Make a new year’s resolution to write. Give yourself the rest of the year off. You’d be in good company.

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