burnout

LaptopCat_thumb[1] Today is the last day of NaNoWriMo and somehow, I have this visual of thousands of writers collapsing over their keyboards at midnight tonight. Exhausted and elated, they can proclaim their success and move on with other projects.

Rather than cram more writing into my four day weekend, I did the opposite. I was utterly and completely burned out, probably because I’d been working at a NaNoWriMo pace for the last twelve months. I worked on a short story and sketched my next chapter for An Autumn Tale, but on Wednesday night, I closed my laptop and took two days off. I popped in and out of Twitter a couple of times, and of course, checked my e-mail, but otherwise, I maintained an Internet silence over the weekend too.

A funny thing happened. Three books that I ordered all arrived on Friday morning, so I spent my spare time on Friday and Saturday reading. I browsed the first few pages of all three, and it was The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart that piqued my interest.

While I didn’t actively plan my next chapter, random thoughts about my own novel occurred to me as I read, and I jotted those thoughts down. By Sunday evening, not even the Brothers Grossbart could still my restlessness, so I went upstairs and turned on my laptop.

Suddenly, my next chapter blossomed and I achieved around two thousand words in a couple of hours. The story was flowing again at a righteous pace, and I couldn’t believe how far I’d gotten when I decided to stop. I feel refreshed, and I’m looking forward to sitting down and fleshing the chapter out. Sometimes, I just have to completely disconnect in order to rejuvenate.

How about you? Does the pace of constant work and writing eventually drag you down? What do you do to rejuvenate your creative flow? Read? Watch movies?

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About T. Frohock

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8 Responses to burnout

  1. The constant work only drags me down when I’m struggling. When it goes well, I feel like I could do it forever. I didn’t write at all from Tuesday before Thanksgiving until today (the Monday after), but I did do some research that turned out to be fun (how to start a steam engine from beginning to end – 7 or so hours!- not much spontaneity to getting your motor running!) and spent time with family. By the time this morning rolled around, I was chomping at the bit and managed to keep the momentum I had from before my break. I think the biggest reason I was able to do this was because I have a pretty good idea of how the next few chapters are supposed to go. I’m just filling in the blanks at this point. In general, I turn to reading for inspiration, whether it be a book about writing or a well-written book. Thanks for the post!

    • Teresa says:

      “I have a pretty good idea of how the next few chapters are supposed to go. I’m just filling in the blanks at this point.” I think what’s inspiring you is part of my problem. I’ve got the scenes mapped out, and it’s just a matter of writing them, but that isn’t as much “fun” for me, because I love the discovery involved in the first draft. Now it just seems like work, but hey, it’s another part of the job like editing, so I’ll marshall on. I’ve come too far to quit now! Thanks for stopping by, Jonathan.

  2. Nora Weston says:

    Hi! Your post sounds lively…so the break must have been good for you. If too many months pass with few writing breaks, then I must paint a room. Then, of course, furniture must be rearranged twenty times, and that leads to buying unusual accessories/tables to make the room feel settled. Once the rectangular victim of my writing fatigue has been painted and rearranged, I’m thrilled to have the time to write…until the walls of another room beckon.

    • Teresa says:

      Oh, Nora, we simply must get together the next time you need a break, because I have two rooms and a stairwell that needs painting! 😉

      Seriously, I think you’re right. I’ve found that any kind of physcial labor helps, especially mindless labor like mowing or raking. Then I can let my mind drift and the ideas that I was striving so hard to find, suddenly start zooming in at light speed. Thanks for visiting!

  3. Peter Cooper says:

    Your experience is no surprise to me, Teresa. Often I’ve found my productivity (in terms of quality, not quantity) has skyrocketed after a break.

    I usually watch TV when I take a break. I love reading, but sometimes I find that the style of the author starts to creep into my writing when I next get into it. It’s tough, because I have a huge pile of books I want to get into.

    Glad to hear you’re going well with your writing, I’m hoping to get a look at your chapters on OWW soon.

    • Teresa says:

      Hi Peter! So nice to see you. I was going in to crit your short story, but it was gone and replaced with another short story! You’re too quick for me. 😉

      “I find that the style of the author starts to creep into my writing when I next get into it” Isn’t it creepy how that happens sometimes? Only mine is never quite up to par to the piece I’ve been reading. 😉

  4. jenniferneri says:

    Oh, I love it when a book triggers me in that way!

    Good for you! Great picture by the way.

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