Someone told me recently during one of my creative writing classes that one of the writers she knew seemed unable to write anymore. She was a good writer, but was probably suffering from burnout due to rejection from literary agents or publishers or perhaps from critiques that didn’t serve her well.
There are so many reasons writers acquire burnout. You have your novel all written and begin the submission process but then a never-ending round of depression kicks in. You find out publishing houses are closed to direct submissions from writers. They will only look at submissions from literary agents. So you decide to query literary agents. You’ve followed all their guidelines and you have the perfect novel for them according to their wish list and yet, rejection, rejection, rejection.
So you decide on self-publishing. Now you run into another set of problems. It not only costs a bundle to self-publish, there are other inherent problems like how do you publicize it one you have published it and will the work you are so proud of become more than just a vanity piece.
Whatever the situation – burnout happens … and it happens to the best of us. The question is – how do you deal with it?
Here are some ways to remember why you love writing and how to reconnect with that vital part of your soul.
PASSION/ENTHUSIASM/DELIGHT – Dust off your writing, look at it with different eyes and revive the passion you once felt for the craft. Or, close your eyes and try and remember the emotions you felt when you first sat down to plot that great story. So what if someone rejected it? It’s their loss. Do some research and look up all the great authors who have been rejected numerous times and then found their niche.
CHANGE IT UP – So you love writing Young Adult novels but sadly none of your YA novels have sold yet. It’s time to get out of your comfort zone. Try a new genre. Sit down and compose a short story or a memoir. You’ll be surprised at the textures in your writing that you will draw out of yourself. A couple of my students have done this and have come away with spectacular results – you know who you are. They will find these skills transferrable to the stories they are crafting presently and will craft in the future.
LOVE – Remember why you began writing. What was it that made you crave the feeling of creating something out of nothing? Did it give you a rush? Did it make you feel heady? Was it an outlet for stress? Or perhaps it gave you a certain satisfaction. It doesn’t matter what it was. All you need to do is to try and retrieve the love you once felt. Remembering the way you began will help you to do so.
ENJOY – Enjoy the process of writing – of having another world appear beneath your fingertips and on the screen in front of you. Don’t bother thinking about other people’s stories. As in everything else, there will be better writers than you and worse. Take pride in what you are doing and just savor the joy of writing.
LIVE – Leave the compulsion for other activities. If you feel you forced to write a set amount of words a day the joy of writing might slowly dissipate. Have a routine and try to stick with it – but don’t be a slave. Go out, walk your dog, have fun and let your story percolate in the recesses of your brain so that it can drip out like a freshly brewed pot of coffee right when you need it.
Write because you love and enjoy it, and that will seep through your writing and keep you from burning out.
2016 Spring Writing Classes for Beginners and Advanced
Creative Writing 101 – Tues. afternoons April 12 – June 28 in Oakville
Crafting Your Novel – Wed. afternoons April 13 – June 29 in Oakville
Crafting Your Novel – Thurs. afternoons April 14 – June 30 in Oakville
For more details click on the links or email firstname.lastname@example.org