Most people get into the writing business because they love to write. In fact, they can’t imagine doing anything else. However, when you write for a living, you may sometimes feel as if you’re writing by rote and as if the joy of writing has completely evaporated. Almost every freelance writer that I know has experienced this at least once. It’s time to do something about it before the joy disappears completely. Here are some of the steps that I take.
Sometimes it helps to step away from the computer. When you spend most of every day there, it’s no surprise that you might feel a bit stale from time to time. I find exercise very helpful in clearing my brain, so I go for a walk or – if I really want to torture myself – take a spin class….
Reading has always been one of my favorite forms of relaxation. When you’re trying to refresh your ideas, the trick is to read something completely different. When I’m relaxing, I almost never read about mortgages or loans. Instead, I pick up a good biography or a trashy novel and lose myself in someone else’s life. It’s amazing how many good ideas you can get by doing that.
The best writing appeals to people. If you work at home, you may not meet many people, but you can still find out what they think. Watch some daytime TV or get out there and talk to your friends. When you distract your brain from the subject at hand, then there’s lots of room for ideas to flood in.
Write for fun. For me, this is one way of recharging my batteries. Instead of working on an ebook or an article about property, I can experiment with a short story or a poem. Turning my thoughts in a different direction can flick a mental switch and get the creative juices flowing again.
Take a challenge. There’s always a writing challenge going on urging you to talk about your successes, give writing tips, satirize a famous writer, write a piece of flash fiction or another form of writing. These give writers the chance to try something new. At worst, it makes a change. At best, writers will discover another form of writing that they love, and find the joy of writing again.
These are some of the steps that have worked for me. I do have off days, but I still love what I do. What works for you when you’re feeling burned out?
12 thoughts on “How To Rediscover The Joy Of Writing”
When burn-out strikes, I like to write something that I KNOW I will never try to publish. It gets that infernal editor off your back during a rough draft. Also, I like to learn something new–maybe in some writing craft book. Sometimes we need to challenge ourselves to grow and learn something new–that will rekindle the joy too.
Good tip, Kristi. I haven’t thought of my editor as ‘infernal’ – I like it. 🙂
I always think that reading is THE best way to recharge. Hearing (well, seeing) somebody else’s words instead of your own can only be healthy, right? Like going out to eat once in a while instead of cooking for yourself–a fresh approach.
Not only that, but I find that–if I avoid my own words for a while and immerse myself in somebody else’s–I start itching to write my own again. In fact, one of the ways I can force myself to work on my novel when I’m procrastinating is to forbid myself from reading any fiction . . . after a couple of days, the need for fiction will force me to write my own if that’s the only way I can get my “fix”!
It’s funny you wrote about writer burn-out today. It is exactly what I’m feeling at the moment (lasted 2wks so far). A vacation or a short trip usually does the trick. Removing myself from my normal routine usually revives my creativity and mental vigor.
Reading is also a great way to get new ideas and gives me a push to write. So, I’ll be getting out this weekend to revive my passion for writing and sharing information. Hopefully, it works because I really need to get back to business!
This is the funny thing about me. I used to love writing 25 years ago coz that time there is a very stiff chance to have a decent life financially. I should know, my father was a writer, a good one. But since he cannot afford to give us what we need, I decided not to pursue it.
This is why I am so glad blogging was invented. Now at least, I have a better chance to have my family live not the way I grew up.
This is such a nice post. Rest assure that I will Digg, Del and SU this.
@ Deb: yes, it’s a good way to get started.
@ Guardian Angel: I agree. In fact, I love blogging – it seems to suit my writing style. Thanks for the stumble 🙂
It’s oh-so-true! I’m new enough to writing that I still spend the bulk of my day doing something else, a day job they call it. But no matter what my task, it seems to involve sitting in front of a screen and typing. Getting away from that whirring little box and out into the world helps keep me from the brink of going nuts.
My writing is mainly centered around my novel at the moment, and I’m finding the reverse of what you’re saying also helps; writing non-fiction articles, blog entries for instance, can help bring focus to my fiction. And nothing recharges my creative batteries like a good movie or a gripping novel. Writers cannot function bathed in the light of an LCD alone!
This is a very informative post for all those who love writing. Get distracted yourself from writing for some time and get back to it later! which is very interesting.
@ Cynthia: I think all writers face burnout at some point; sometimes the only way to handle it is to take a break.
@ Bill: ‘Writers cannot function bathed in the light of an LCD panel’. That’s so true. We need to seek inspiration elsewhere as well.
@ Meghan K: Glad you like it. I once wrote a post called ‘Writers, you need to get out more’ which addressed this issue.
Most of my writing happens on my blog. So, almost always it’s about finding a good topic to write on. When I don’t get any good ideas, I don’t push myself to find any. In stead, I keep reading what other people are blogging about…
All I can do is hope that this works for me. I’m experiencing a major burnout and right now all I want is to want to write again…
Thank you Sharon! I used to love writing, especially in highschool, but grew burnt out in college. that was about three years ago. Since then I have tried to start writing again and again only to be intimidated. Despite this article being written several years back it is helpful!