overworked employee having a breakdown

How to Know if You have Writer’s Burnout

I was motivated to write this article after witnessing a friend’s ‘writer’s burnout.’

I have had one myself but at the time I didn’t know what it was called until I saw an article on it. I realized so many writers and creatives suffer writer’s or creative’s burnout but they don’t know that is what they’re going through.

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It is possible to have writer’s burnout and not know. Which makes it harder on the writer who is going through this and cannot place a name on it or doesn’t understand what’s going on.

There are times writers confuse writer’s block with writer’s burnout but they are two totally different things.

What is Writer’s or Creative Block?

Writer’s Block is when you want to write but you don’t know what to write. It isn’t that you don’t feel like writing, it is that you just don’t know what to write.

And whenever I experience this, I can get out of this rut by reading about the topic I plan to write, reading a book, taking a walk, or by leaving writing to do something else and then coming back later to write after a while.

But it’s not that simple for writer’s burnout. Infact, writer’s burnout is so much harder to get out of.

What is Writer’s Burnout?

Imagine a person who loves writing suddenly finds writing stressful and annoying or someone who writes for a living suddenly starts thinking of taking up another profession or giving up on writing because they are tired and worn out.

Think of writer’s burnout as a kind of writer’s depression. It is a state where a writer feels an inadequacy towards writing. The writer prefers to lie on the bed all day instead of writing. 

When you have writer’s burnout, you feel forced to write. You have ideas, you know what to write but you just don’t want to. The thought of writing feels frustrating because you’ve written for so long and now you don’t want to write anymore.

This usually happens to writers who write for a long period of time without taking a break.

Especially, if you write as a profession and you write a large amount of words or pages everyday without stopping.

There will come a time when you can’t get yourself to continue and unlike writer’s block that can be fixed by taking a break, writer’s burnout takes a longer time to get fixed.

How can you know if you have Writer’s Burnout?

-/ You feel tired and stressed at the thought of writing.

-/ You prefer staying on your bed all day than getting up to write.

-/ You start thinking of taking up another profession and you start getting the thought of quitting writing.

-/ You don’t get that energy to write anything again.

-/ Writing doesn’t seem enjoyable to you again.

-/ You get tired of trying anything new. 

-/ You start thinking about the negative feedbacks you’ve ever gotten from your writings and this weighs you down the more.

-/ Your writing is not as good as it used to be because you’re now forcing yourself to write.

-/ Your clients and readers complain that you no longer write well like you used to.

-/ You get depressed because you think something must be wrong with you since you can’t do what you used to do best anymore.

-/ You stop writing.

What Causes Writer’s burnout?

-/ Overworking yourself and writing nonstop.

-/ Not feeling appreciated for your writing.

-/ Not getting paid as much as you write or being underpaid.

-/ Isolating yourself while writing; which is a common issue for freelance writers who write from the comfort of their home without any form of social interaction.

-/ Doing a lot of writing on your own without outsourcing.

If you’ve read through these signs and causes and you feel you have a burnout, don’t panic, there’s a solution.

But before we look at how to fix writer’s burnout, let’s see ways to prevent writer’s burnout if you’re on the verge of having one.

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How do you Prevent Burnout in Writing?

Can writing be stressful? Yes it can. Especially If you write everyday, nonstop, or if all you do is write. 

Writing can eventually become something you loathe.

It is that serious.

I suffered writer’s burnout when I worked for a client who gave me work nonstop.

This writing job was extremely stressful and it needed a lot of research. I also had to write so many words in a short time. On top of all this, I was paid very little for it.

After some months, I hit writer’s burnout and there was nothing I could do anymore.

I knew what to write but I just couldn’t bring myself to write.

The thought of writing started to scare me. 

I even thought of taking a break altogether and forfeiting my writing career.

I didn’t know what I was going through was a burnout as a result of writing nonstop for a long period of time.

Until I stumbled on an article like this one that thoroughly explained what I was going through like I’m doing now.

Looking back, I realized I could have prevented this. I didn’t have to go through so much pressure with my writing. I didn’t have to overwork myself to the extent that the thought of writing, which was something I loved doing, became something I loathed.

So, how can you prevent burnout in writing?

-/ Don’t write for an extended period of time. Writing for a limited amount of time everyday is better than writing throughout the day for a long period of time.

-/ Have a work-life balance. Ensure you do other things apart from writing. Take up a hobby. Take breaks between writing. For me, I love to watch Kdrama. It stimulates my creativity and also helps me relax.

-/ Get enough sleep. If you lose sleep to write, you will eventually end up sleeping later and not writing at all.

-/ Don’t let people’s opinion of your writing affect your work or get to you. Before you know it, you might start feeling low and not be able to get yourself to write.

Now that we’ve seen how to prevent writer’s burnout, let’s see how to fix it if you already feel burnt out.

How do you Fix Writer’s Burnout?

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Having gone through the symptoms, do you now realise you definitely have writer’s burnout? 

Then, keep reading to see how to fix your burnout:

-/ Stop writing for a while:

I know this is a bit too much especially if you have a client that is constantly waiting on you to deliver their work. But in to produce great and quality content and to avoid losing the client and many others altogether, you might have to take a break from writing.

-/ Do something entirely different:

After taking a break from writing, use this opportunity to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. The point is to get your mind to miss writing and then when you have wandered away for a while, the thought of writing will start to feel great again and you can pick it back up.

-/ Learn time management:

When writing no longer gets exciting, it must mean that you have overworked yourself by writing so much, your creativity juice is not flowing like it used to. So what you should do is schedule your writing time. 

For me, I like to write once every 2 days. So I pick a time. I write for 4-5 hours in a day. 

I can make it 2 hours at a go and then come back to writing later after I have done other things like sleep, watch movies, play games, read, or take a walk.

-/ Give yourself time:

Don’t put yourself under pressure. Because this burns writers out more than anything else. So, instead of trying to get yourself into the writing ‘space,’ allow your mind to get ready.

Having writer’s burnout doesn’t mean you’re lazy or indiscipline, it just means your mind cannot take anymore stress.

So give yourself time to recuperate.

-/ Outsource your writing

If you make enough money from writing, hire other writers to help with your work. 

Doing a lot of work alone can be tiring but delegating and outsourcing can ease you of the stress of deadlines.

For many people who took up writing as a profession because they love writing (like me), it might be quite unbelievable to realise it is possible to start hating writing and to constantly feel like (maybe) writing is not for you.

But this is a phase a lot of writers have gone through. It is nothing new or anything to be ashamed of and it can be avoided or fixed.

Ensure you take out time to do other things, meet with people, take up a new hobby, and you will notice after a while, your love for writing will be rekindled and you can get back to 

writing.

When you do recover from writer’s burnout, ensure you follow the steps to prevent writer’s burnout above, because if you keep overworking yourself, you might fall back into the burnout again.

About

Sarah Olaleye

Hi, I’m Sarah. I am a writer and productivity coach. I am passionate about productive living and helping creative people realize and maximize their potential. I share my life-changing and actionable productivity and planning tips on this blog and I design planners, templates, and arts for my digital shop.

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