On Writing and Burnout

All writers know the drill. We get so caught up with word counts and deadlines and revisions or the awesome scene we have to finish writing, we can forget about the important things. Like looking after ourselves.

Last year, I went through a massive break up with writing. Yes, part of it was because I was pregnant at the time. But between that, three kids, work and life in general, writing was difficult.

My motivation, my inspiration, my will to write had completely vanished. This wasn’t just writers block. I quickly realised that I had been piling too much on my plate, trying to write and revise, and update my blog. Not to mention keep up with social media and life.

But I kept at it. Kept planning. Kept adding more to the pile. Kept telling myself ‘I can do this.’

I couldn’t do it.

And I blamed myself. If only I made more time, if only I tried harder to write. If only I could force myself. But forcing myself to make time for something that didn’t interest me, and then not doing it ultimately made me feel worse.

And so the cycle continued.

How could I call myself a writer if I wasn’t writing? I felt like a fake. I withdrew from my blog, from tumblr, and from all forms of writing, including books. And I felt crap because of it.

I had officially burnt myself out. I had spent too much time working, trying to do everything, that I didn’t think of myself- just my to do list. Those 6 months make me feel the worst about myself than I had in a long time. I felt like a failure. That my goals and dreams weren’t important to me at all. That I didn’t deserve to be a writer if I couldn’t even write 10 words.

I came back in January. Posted on my blog, remade my tumblr, started a writing channel on YouTube. But that unwanted 6 month break- the one that made me feel like I was ultimately giving up on my dream- is what saved it.

My motivation, my inspiration, my dedication came back full force. I was excited to write again. And those 6 months taught me a valuable lesson. That if you don’t take a break; If you don’t take the time to look after yourself, it’s going to bite you in the ass. Hard.

So make small goals. Save one day a week to focus on you and not your writing. Take breaks every few months, or when the stress starts to build.

Because the first rule of writing is to put yourself first. I forgot that rule. Please don’t make the same mistake.


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