Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Creativity Burnout

The other night I turned the television off and actually sat down to try to write.

And I was blocked.  Utterly and completely blocked.  I have no idea for where the story is supposed to go next.  There are a ton of scenes I need to add, mostly of the MMC.  I'm maybe just over halfway to my end word count and there's a lot of ground to make up for.

I tweeted that my book was awful.  (In less eloquent phrasing, I'm ashamed to admit.)  Of course that garnered a pep talk from two of the most awesome people you'll ever meet on the internet.  (And later this week I'll tell you how you can meet them, too.  So stay tuned.)

Then I had some sort of breakthrough.  Not a writing breakthrough, but an epiphany of sorts on why I was so stuck.  One of my friends suggested working on something else for a while.  I replied that I didn't know what to work on.

To which I replied that I'm so overwhelmed with projects I have no idea where to go.  (Or something like that.)

I think that real life is part of my writing slump.  (See last Friday's post.)  But then I look at my writings folder on my computer and see so many projects, half-starts, and scrambled notes.  Not to mention all the poetry that I still want the world to read.

And I feel so inadequate and overwhelmed with it all that I just close down.  There's plenty of time in the day to work on writing.  But because I don't know where to start when I look at all that work, I clam up faster than you can say pearl divers ahoy.

Worse?  I have no inkling of an idea on how to deal with it.  I think I'm just going to need to take a writing break for a while and find a good headspace.  The trick is not beating myself up over not writing.


  1. taking a break and not beating yourself up over it... i've been writing for six years and i still find that i have to take breaks from my projects. and i'm still learning to not beat myself up over it. writing is fun and hard at the same time. give yourself space.

  2. Yeah, don't beat yourself up. Sometimes a break is just what you need. I know how it feels to have plenty of time and not get anything done. I hate that! Just step back a bit and take a deep breath. Believe in yourself. You'll get there.

  3. Yeah. I took a six month or so break while I was pregnant and I have come back with new enthusiasm for the revisions that had ground to a halt. I'm not sure what to tell you for your own situation, but just know that you aren't alone in going through it. Others have been there and recovered. I think you can too.

  4. I had to take a nice long break from my WIP last summer because it wasn't going well and I was so down on both it and myself. I came back to it in the fall and while it took a little while longer to get back into gear, I did eventually get there.

  5. First, sorry to hear about your internship. Occasionally I take a break from writing and read good books and books on the craft of writing. Maybe you should do that and pick one or two projects to focus on. Maybe outline to find your direction. Just a suggestion. Right now I'm squeezing in the writing where I can.

  6. Beating yourself up for taking a break is a bad idea, yes. I am taking a break from it right now, and it's so wonderful. I do get little stints of guilt, but they go away quickly. I'm enjoying this rest. I just got burned out, and it sounds like you might have reached that, too. Get back to your happy place and everything else will follow. :)


All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing.

Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author.