Posts Tagged With: writers block

Burnout and How to Beat It

Do you ever feel hopelessly stuck in the middle of a story? Or just too exhausted from real life to throw yourself into a fictional one? It’s easy to get burned out, especially if you’re trying to juggle writing with a job, school, family, and the billion other things that will demand your attention. It’s not fun and it’s not easy to have ideas and feel unable to write them, but remember who and what you are: a writer. It’s a title that comes with doing. Not doing something perfectly, merely doing something. Like these things, perhaps.

1. Write Stuff.

It doesn’t matter what you’re writing, just that you are. Do some journaling, scribble down some really pathetic fanfiction, make overly detailed lists of what you did today–just write something! You won’t feel like it, but do it anyway. Nine times out of ten, once you’ve been at it for a few minutes, you’ll find yourself getting lost in the words just like you used to–even if the words you’re lost in aren’t exactly a masterpiece.

2. Write Different Stuff.

Switch projects. Maybe several times. Burnout can easily stem from falling into a rut, whether that rut involves obsessing over a single project, settling into a dull writing routine, or simply getting bored. Trying something new or alternating between several different types of projects (eg. a novel and an essay, or a short story and a memoir) can be enough to reignite your interest and draw you back into your passion.

3. Write Stuff for Yourself.

For me at least, one of the things that stops me from writing is knowing that other people will read what I write and might not like it. That’s stressful and can lead to so much hair-pulling and nail-biting that suddenly writing at all seems rather unappealing. The best way to break that mentality is to write things that are for your eyes only(at least to begin with) and forget about everyone else’s opinions for the time being. Write things the way you would if no one else was ever going to see them and you’ll find yourself having a lot more fun.

4. Don’t Write Stuff.

Sometimes, the best way to get back into the groove is to step out of it entirely for a while. Give yourself a well deserved break. I keep running across quotes from famous writers on Pinterest and Tumblr about how a true writer writes every day or how a writer can’t not write, but I don’t agree. Everyone needs a break once in a while, no matter how much they may love what they do. Parents take breaks from time to time; does that mean they aren’t true parents? Doctors, nurses, and police officers do, too, but that doesn’t make them bad at their jobs. So, why is it any different for writers? If you’re tired, go have an unhealthy snack, read a few good books(fun ones–books about writing don’t count), and come back to your project in a few days when you’ve had a chance to collect yourself.

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Confession:

You guys remember back when I did that post on writer’s block? How it didn’t exist, was simply a psychological fallacy, and was just generally an excuse to not write?Well…let me just say…I’m a total hypocrite as of now.

While not entirely relevant, this pic of the bridge down from my house blowing up is a decent metaphor.

While not entirely relevant, this pic of the bridge down from my house blowing up is a decent metaphor.

I have discovered that particular horror for myself. The past couple of months I’ve actually had serious trouble writing anything, let alone the novel sitting in my documents folder. Journaling, RPing, short stories, *cough* blogging–all of it has been surprisingly difficult. I would have a post or a story planned out in my head, but when I finally found time to sit down and write it, I would suddenly be too tired or too blank or have a headache or ANYTHING THAT WOULD SUFFICE AS AN EXCUSE NOT TO WRITE! It’s pretty pathetic, really, and that phenomenon is only now starting to fade. After losing a good three months of writing time on a novel I was supposed to have finished half a year ago. Oh, well. Lesson learned (I hope). Always have a plan. And always stick to the plan.

Though I wouldn’t put it past me to do it all over again if I get distracted, which is a fairly common–OOOH! DOCTOR WHO!!!!

Categories: Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Attack of the Deadly Writer’s Stone!

Stone sounds much more sophisticated than block, doesn’t it?

A writer’s block has apparently decided to sit on me for awhile. Despite the fact that my novel is actually done, the editing (e.g. rewriting the stupid parts that exist because I didn’t plan out the blasted ending) is going to kill me before I get to the sequel. As it is, I find myself hunting for reasons to not actually work on it. School, work, other “more important” writing projects–I know I’m stalling, but I have yet to get up the courage to stop myself and get back to the thing. And hey, a little distance is supposed to help with editing, right? Right…

And while we’re on the topic of writer’s block, I’ve got a couple tips for my fellow literarily inclined teenagers. I’ve had plenty of experience. Wayyyy too much, actually.

1. Music!

Sometimes having appropriate music to both block out distractions as well as get your imagination on the same track as your project helps. I typically use soundtracks and split the tracks into folders according to the emotions the particular songs dredge up. I’ve got Action playlists, Romance playlists, Mystery playlists, Sad playlists–you get the idea. And, by the way, the Doctor Who soundtracks are really, really great for writing.

2. No Music.

While music can be a tremendous help, it can also be extraordinarily distracting, depending on both your writing style and the day. Also, some people tend to get into music a little too much on occasion *cough* and that isn’t very good for someone trying to plant their butt in a chair and actually get something done. So it can go either way. Use your own judgement.

3. Brainstorming

When I’m stuck, it sometimes help to step back and start looking for new things to either add or substitute into the story. I trust you know you to brainstorm (if so, would you show me how?), so I won’t get into that, but once you do have a new idea, use it. Working on something new that you’re thrilled about writing can work wonders for your creativity–and therefore, the rest of the piece.

4. Avoidance

Sometimes, that block is a tad too heavy to shift on the first try. Working on something different for a while can help you get your brilliance shining again and help you when you go back to your original project. Either that, or you’re going to want to abandon the first one altogether. Again, it’s a thing that doesn’t work for everyone. Writing is an immensely personalized art.

5. I Think You Already Know…

The most popular and probably the most effective method for ridding yourself of a writer’s stone–er, block? Sit down. Pick up your pen/laptop/whatever. Write. And that’s probably what I should be doing right now rather than imagining new and creative ways to avoid actually working on the monster I’ve created. Granted, the other methods are heaps more fun ( You don’t want to know how long I spent putting together my playlists.), but I think this one has a better chance of success. Not that the others hurt, mind you. Having music to write to and new ideas for when you’re done with this one is always good. Whatever you go with, just write.

Even if you don’t want to.

Like I don’t want to right now.

Good night.

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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