A lot of writers go on for years crafting great stories. Then some reach a point where their work isn’t as great as it used to be. The plots they write make little sense, the pacing of their stories starts to slow, characterizations and “voices” are off, the storylines they write aren’t thought out, and sometimes the ending has the reader saying WTF?
It’s a clear case of writer burnout.
What is Writer Burnout? Writer burnout is where a writer loses their passion for writing. The spark that inspires their creativity dies down. They lose their love for storytelling and they just start going through the motions, writing just because they feel they need to, not because they want to.
What causes a writer to burnout? Sometimes it’s working with a character for too long. Sometimes it’s working in the same genre for too many years. Sometimes a writer is just plain tired after working multiple projects year after year.
All the signs of Writer Burnout are usually on the page of their work. Instead of writing a story that’s fresh and exciting, they write uninspired stories with no heart, no energy and no soul. The story doesn’t flow in an organic fashion because they try to force things that don’t work to work. And in some cases they stop caring about the quality of the stories they produce and let all sorts of mistakes from grammatical mistakes to major continuity errors go by.
In most cases when the writer doesn’t care the reader notices. They don’t see clear pictures of the action in their imaginations. They don’t hear the voices of the characters. They don’t “feel” the spirit of the story on the page. Instead of a story having a heart and a soul, the entire reading experience feels DEAD.
If the writer doesn’t care about writing the story when they start it, the reader won’t care enough to read it when they finish it. Readers feel that passion, that energy and that heart on the page. And that’s what compels them to keep reading.
How does a writer overcome Writer Burnout? By stepping away from the keyboard. Sometimes a writer gets so caught up in the imaginary worlds of their characters that they don’t take time for their own personal lives. When a writer starts to feel themselves getting burnt out, it’s a sign from their bodies and their minds that they’re tired. And they need to take a rest.
Sometimes a burnt out writer will keep trying to write a story that they’re stuck on just to finish it. They hope to push through hoping to reignite the passion they had for writing; however, this is one of the worst things a writer could do. Sometimes a break is the best thing a writer could do for their bodies and their minds.
Writers often spend a lot of time in front of the keyboard. And being in front of that keyboard for hours a day every day of the year can lead to a writer becoming disconnected from the world. And that time they take away from the keyboard can help a writer reconnect with the world and draw inspiration from it to tell their stories.
When a writer starts to feel like they’re burning out, the best thing they could do is take a break from writing. Go out for a walk, Go see a movie. Go do something that’s not related to writing. Sometimes that break can lead to a breakthrough that can lead to a writer getting their passion for storytelling back and lead to them writing great stories again.