We all get to that point. Where we are too exhausted to give any more to the world. We need sleep. Our eyes are blurry, our energy sapped, and our attitude irritable at best.
When I enter this territory, my mind will pose a question sooner or later.
Do I try harder? Or do I wait until tomorrow?
I have answered yes to tomorrow more often than I’d care to admit. But last night, I heard what that voice was really saying. You’re tired, do it another day. Even if it doesn’t get done tomorrow, it’s not a huge deal. You’re burnt out.
I have been staying up late and getting up early too much over the past two weeks. A lot of it was because of fun tasks I enjoy. I’d written a blog or two almost every day, posted on another blog twice a week, wrote on my novel, prepped for a talk at a conference in two weeks, and sent in a proposal for another talk in October.
Usually during a blitz of activity like this, I become a super hero and write like a maniac. Then, I become the super bum, and have little taste for it. How do you find that balance?
For me, the first thing to understand is that I cannot sustain this output. Something’s gotta give. Either my sky high expectations or projects. Often it was the expectations and I’d try to cram in everything. At times, I would stay up until midnight and then try to wake at five or six to get projects done before the kids woke up.
I don’t know about you but I’m not a robot. I need rest just like everyone else and I needed to figure out a way to get it.
I know that getting proper rest would make me more alert at work, more patient with my family, less irritable, and prone to working with a better attitude. I sat back and realized I cannot have both manic activity and sleeplessness.
Thus, I’ve recommitted to sleep and care of myself just like I did with my blog. I will wake early only if I go to bed on time. If I feel the push to finish something in the evening, I will refrain from rising early.
This is the best answer I have to burnout. Do you have any suggestions?
4 thoughts on “Do You Ever Get Writer’s Burnout?”
I applaud you for listening to your mind and body. Yes, restore yourself with rest and self-care, but then I hope you will maintain it. Sometimes the well runs dry, and we have to replenish. Until then, there’s no water. So take a break from writing, have some fun! Toss a ball around with your kids, run under a sprinkler, get an ice cream cone, …or my favorite, lie down in the yard, under a tree and watch the leaves as the breeze flutters through changing the soft green hues right before your eyes. Breathe! Life is too short. 🙂
Thanks. I live in the extremes often. I love playing with my kids, more than anything. Usually, I try to sequester my writing to the fringes of the day so I don’t miss out! Great advice.
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