Every writer has those days when "working" really means staring at the screen for more than 10 minutes, or scrolling through Facebook in hopes of stumbling across something positive and inspirational.
It's hard not to get burnt out because every writer knows that you have to grab the work while it's there; it could dry up tomorrow.
After a few years of alternating between feast, famine, and absolute burnout, this writer figured a few things out.
Tips to Prevent Burnout
- Force yourself to take time out. Whether the work dries up or not, when you get burnt out it takes at least twice as long to do your work. Take a day off so burn out doesn't happen.
- Set a goal and stick with it. That "Oh, I'll just do one more to get ahead" mentality works for the day, but it adds up to burn out.
- Set the timer for movement. Step away from the desk every so often. Movement gets the blood flowing and helps prevent burn out because you actually get away from the desk once in a while.
Dealing with Burn Out
- Take the day off. Yes, you have to make money, but if it takes you forever to get your work done, you may as well just take the day off and hit it hard tomorrow.
- Give yourself a topic for the day. Maybe your brain is just done with the same old stuff. Try inserting one theme into your work for the day. For example, challenge yourself to use a new word in every article or somehow incorporate zombies into every article for the day. Just by implementing one change in your writing you can make it more challenging and interesting.
- Make plans for the day. If you have plans for after work, you're more likely to try and get your work done by a certain time. That might help overcome the feeling of being burnt out in the first place too.
At the End of the Day
Burn out comes with every job. The difference is that writers don't generally get paid by the hour so it's almost impossible to make money when you are burnt out.
It's not like clocking in somewhere and going through the motions. You have the freedom to set your own schedule, so take advantage of it.
No matter how long you sit and stare at the screen, the words aren't going to magically appear.
And close Facebook! You aren't going to draw inspiration from it, but you are going to waste more time than you want to.
How do you prevent burnout?