7 Best Resources for Burned Out Writers to Get Back on Track
Writers just aren’t like other people. We have creative brains that take us in different directions, and sometimes that direction is right against a wall. It’s nothing to be upset about – it’s just a hazard of the trade. If you’re feeling like there’s nowhere left to go but down, try going sideways. Find other sources of inspiration, and let your motivation take new roots.
You might have heard that all artists (which includes writers) steal. Stealing isn’t good, but borrowing or re-envisioning from writers who mean a lot to you can help you develop your own skills. Rethinking the way that you write can make unsolvable problems solvable. Set up a GoodReads account to see what your friends are reading. Use it to discover books that are similar to books you like. Explore perspectives.
- Seventh Sanctum
Seventh Sanctum is a random prompt generator. You get ten sentences, and you can incorporate them into a piece of writing. The sentences are abstract, and they present a fun challenge. Try working with “I’ve got my unique lantern – now I’m quitting my job”, or “If you want to know what happened, imagine the legend of the Golem, only dumber.” If you’re really looking to boost your creative motivation, try to use all ten sentences in one short story.
Are you writing a story about unsolved murders? Check out Mindhunter. What about white collar crime? Watch Ozark. Do you have a depressed character who has fallen from fame into a life of seclusion? You’ll love BoJack Horseman. Sometimes, the visual stimulation of watching a story play out can help you picture your own in your mind’s eye. If you live outside of the USA and can’t access certain Netflix content, you can work around it with a VPN.
- Your Old Work
Reviewing older things you’ve written will give you a chance to reinvent yourself. If you feel like you’ve gone as far as you can go with what you have, maybe it’s time to have something else. Take out some older things you’ve written, and re-write them. You’ll be showing yourself how much you’ve learned, and you’ll be getting a chance to do things over again. It just might renew your spirit.
It seems counterintuitive and perhaps a little insane to embrace someone telling you all of your weaknesses. In truth, it’s really hard to do. To get to the point where you welcome criticism without letting it hurt your feelings is a hard thing to do, but it just might be the solution to your burnout. If you can’t recognize what your shortcomings are and where you’re having trouble, have someone you trust and value be candid with you. The revelations will help you grow.
- A Journal
Your burnout may not be directly related to your writing. Maybe you just aren’t in a good place. You’re stressed out by changes in your life, whether those changes are for the better or worse. We all go through things. Journaling can help you sort them out and get yourself in a better place. You’ll be a better writer and a better person if you keep your mind healthy and organized.
- Anything Else
Completely change scenery. Move to Tangier. Hike up Matterhorn Peak. Develop a love for making ceramic ducks. Step away from writing completely, and learn something new. Experience something you never thought you would experience. Maybe you need to put the pen down for a while and do a little bit of living. The next time you sit down to write, it won’t feel like work. It will feel like an opportunity to explore yourself.
Even the best writers will find themselves burned out from time to time. There’s nothing wrong with you if you feel frustrated every time you sit down in front of a word document. Your passion isn’t failing you – it just needs new fuel.
Sarah Kearns is a hard working mother of three daughters. She is a Senior Communications Manager for BizDb, an online resource with information about businesses in the UK. She loves cooking, reading history books and writing about green living.