I have been a writer for as long as I can remember. As a child, I often made up stories and shared them with my friends. I knew I would be a writer, but it wasn’t until my early twenties that I took the plunge and started this blog. I don’t know if I was fully committed to it, but the idea of sharing my thoughts with the world and fellow writers always lingered in my mind. Apart from creative burnout…
I didn’t think I was any good, but the idea of writing and being heard was enough to keep me going. I continue to write these days, but I sometimes feel blocked. I’ll sit at my desk, ready to write, but the words just won’t come. I’ll stare at the blank page for hours, frustrated and stuck. I know that writer’s block is not permanent and that, eventually, the ideas will come flowing again. I just have to keep writing, and the ideas will come.
It’s The Same With Life
We all go through periods of uncertainty, fear, and doubt. The key is to keep moving forward, even when we don’t know where we’re going or what we’re doing. The more we move toward our goals, the more clarity we’ll find. What about creative burnout?
I feel like I’m writing the same thing over and over. I love to write, but sometimes it feels like a job. The more I do it, the less inspired I am to write. And then there are these limitations. My brain is working at a different level. I’m repeating myself. I feel like I’ve hit a creative wall and will never get past it.
The good news is that there are no creative walls. There are only creative ideas to be had. The creative ideas will come when you’re ready for them. They might even come while you’re working on something or not expecting them. But they will come. In the meantime, keep writing, and keep sharing what you feel inspired to share.
Here are 3 tips for getting the most out of your writing time:
Set a Timer
Set a timer for 15 minutes and write nonstop for that period. If you don’t want to go longer than 15 minutes, set it for 10 minutes. If you want to go longer, set it for 30 or even an hour. Write without editing or stopping the timer. When it’s over, walk away and do something else.
Do not look at what you’ve written when you’re done. Don’t look at it for 24 hours. Then come back to it and edit as you see fit. I prefer the Pomodoro technique, where you set a timer for 25 minutes and take a break for 5. This way, you know you’re doing productive work for a specific time and can set a goal for the day.
Make Writing a Habit
Write every day, even if only for ten minutes or less. Don’t worry about what you write if you’re not a writer. Just write something, anything. Write about your day, about what’s going on in your life. Daily journaling (“How my day went!”) has helped me develop a writing habit. Write like you speak, not in a formal way. (This is hard for many people, especially when writing an essay.)
If you’re unsure how to do this, it helps to practice writing in informal ways. I have this blog that I use for this purpose. I mix a hint of informal language with a formal and informative tone. There are many, many other tips and tricks for improving your writing. I imagine this is something you’ll learn from experience, but journaling can be helpful to get started.
Writing is Not Always Professional
Instead of writing for publication, write for the love of it. If you want to be published, that’s great, but don’t write for publication. Write because you love writing. If you’re not a writer, write because you love to tell stories or have something important to say. Practice writing every day without editing or worrying about what you’re doing.
Just get your fingers moving and start writing. You’ll find that you end up with a lot of junk, but you will also find some gems if you keep going. When you’re ready to take the next step, consider this article: 7 Things Every Writer Needs to Own
Here’s how to tackle creative burnout:
Understand your limitations
When it comes to creative endeavors, it’s important to understand your limitations. And by that, we don’t mean your lack of skills or experience. Everyone has their process and way of working, and it’s important to find what works for you.
For some people, that means working in short bursts and taking frequent breaks. Others need to immerse themselves in their work for long periods. And there’s no right or wrong way to approach it.
It is important to be aware of your limitations and work within them. That doesn’t mean you can never push yourself outside of your comfort zone, but you need to be realistic about what you can accomplish in a given period.
Say No to Some Unworthy Projects
Saying no can be hard, especially when it comes to projects and clients that you’re passionate about. But sometimes, saying no is the best thing you can do for your creativity. Here are three reasons why you should learn to say no to projects and clients that suck the creativity out of you:
- You’ll save a ton of time and effort by doing this.
- You won’t be able to produce your best work if you feel drained and uninspired.
- It’s okay to be picky about the projects you take on – your time is valuable!
Give Yourself a Break, But Don’t Hibernate
We all know the feeling: you’ve been working on a project for days, weeks, maybe even months, and you’re just…stuck. The ideas are no longer flowing like they used to, and everything you produce feels lackluster. You might start to feel like taking a break is the only way out – but before you do, there’s something you should know.
Sure, taking a break can be helpful when you’re experiencing creative burnout. But hibernating – completely withdrawing from your work – will not do you any favors. In fact, it might make things worse.
Hibernating = Lacking Motivation = Creative Burnout
There’s no better way to lose your motivation than to stop doing something you love for weeks, months, or even years. It’s like taking the batteries out of a Ferrari. You might be able to start it up again with the right tools, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get anywhere fast. In fact, if you stop doing something you love completely, it can take months or years before you feel inspired again.
When we take a break from our work, we must set boundaries. We should allow ourselves time to relax and recharge, but we shouldn’t completely disconnect from our projects.
When it comes to getting your creative mojo back, one of the best things you can do is enjoy the creativity of others. There are so many talented people creating amazing things, and by taking the time to appreciate their work, you can help jumpstart your creativity. Your Turn What do you do when you feel like your creativity has run dry? What are some other ways to reignite your creative spark? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.