Wednesday, November 21, 2007

If You Want to Write...

The latest in our weekly blog series about little things you can do to build a writing life...

I want to thank all the people who have entered the Spread the WORD! contest so far. You guys have been amazing. It's still anyone's win at this point, but everyone else: catch up so at least you can get your Post-Its! And the prizes can be interchangeable. If, for example, you already have a copy of Lady of Sherwood, you can have the Surprise Gift instead.

Now, back to "If You Want to Write...."

Burnout happens.

Burnout is kind of happening right now. Susan Johnston ( posted about it a week or so ago, and got me thinking. Burnout is when you feel like a car running on no gas, when inspiration is visiting a different address, when you're tired and you hate your characters and feel like quitting.

That's burnout.

Burnout is different from inspiration-loss. Look, if you wait to write until you're inspired, you'll be waiting a long time. You won't write, actually. The discipline of writing is writing anyway, always, whenever, however. Burnout is when you are really empty, not just tired.

But fear not! Burnout is neither forever, nor untreatable. The best cures, I've found, are below.

- Take a short break or
- THROW yourself into your book or short-term project.
- Listen to lots of music.
- Take long nature walks.
- Read an article you really disagree with
- Eat really good food.
- Watch a lot of cheesy, feel-good movies
- Or watch one gripping drama
And the best way:
- Read a really, really, really badly written book. I have lots of recommendations but am not going to post them here.

The basic idea is that you want to stimulate and rejuvenate yourself. Remember why you love to write. Remember what excites you. Remember to relax and let your creative pores soak. Remember that burnout's not forever, and soon you'll be flaming to go.

1 comment:

Gabrielle said...

As a reward for those who read this...

The next author interview, on December 2nd, will be

ROBIN WASSERMAN of "Hacking Harvard" (