Maybe you have suffered from this in the past or maybe you are like me and are suffering from it now. Maybe you are one of the fortunate ones who have never slipped down this particular dark hole of suffering and I wish to convey to you that you are a very fortunate soul indeed.
First I want to clarify, Writer's Burnout is different from Writer's Block.
It's not that the words won't come or that your muse is taking an extended vacation, the fact is, that you stop caring about your muse, your books, your stories, etc. and are seriously considering the idea that a career in the fast food industry would be more satisfying. Or will, at the very least, pay better.
I no longer feel the need or desire to write. It is simply gone. I still write in my journal every day but even that has begun to become such a bore that I simply wish to get through and move on with my day.
There are all kinds of reasons for Writer Burnout, I think in my case, deadlines and contracts began to suck the pleasure out of it. It became a job instead of a joy and I think in there somewhere, I lost myself. Or at least, my desire to create something out of nothing.
From what I have read this is more common than many writers realize and it can sneak up on you out of nowhere and take control of your life if you let it.
The good news is, that it doesn't seem to be a fatal condition, at least that is what these articles say, so with that shred of hope tucked safely away behind my laptop, I have decided to take a month off from writing and paint the inside of my home.
The house needs it (it still has the contractors crappy flat white paint from when it was built nine years ago) and I need it. I need to switch that side of my brain off and work with the side that cares only that the paint is stirred correctly and that there are no streaks.
For those of you that may wonder if perhaps you too are a victim of this disease, I have gathered together some links that just might lead you back into the light!
Barbara Bretton at Wish You Were Here
I Was A Burned-Out, Middle-Aged Romance Writer =or= How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Process
"Before I burned out in February 1992, I'd labored under many assumptions about the reality of work and writing and self-discipline. I believed that showing up was half the battle, that inspiration and artistic temperament were both highly overrated, that I could conquer outside forces by the sheer force of my will--and I believed burnout could never happen to me.
I was wrong.
Burnout is real, it's powerful, and it can sneak up on you when you least expect it. Burnout is the flip side of creativity and yet it's the least talked-about phenomenon in publishing. You'll find it easier to get a rock star to expound on impotence than to convince a working writer to admit to being burned out."
Shanan Haislip at Positive Writer
"It goes beyond mere writer’s block. It doesn’t care about deadlines, and can stopper your writing voice for months at a time. It’s deep, it’s baffling and it’s not often talked about in writing circles.
It’s writer’s burnout."
"The longer you work at creating things, whether it’s websites, essays or paintings, the greater the odds you’ll have day where you don’t feel like doing it anymore. Until that day you may have heard others describe burnout, but you just shrugged it off as superstition, or perhaps you believed yourself immune. But the day it hits you, the world seems suddenly grey. What was once fun and challenging feel stupid and annoying. Or perhaps the things that used to motivate or move you don’t resonate at all. You feel nothing for them. It all just seems like so much more crap to deal with. If this sounds familiar, or you fear that this day is in your future, this essay is for you."