Burn Out

As a writer, I have experienced this routinely. When I’m on, I’m on and meet or exceed my personal goal of a minimum 1000 words per sit down. Then there are the days where the desire to write exists but the ability to put digital pen to paper drains to zero. This is ok. Writing is not my full time job, no matter how much I would love that, I am consumed with my day job, my other job and spending precious time with my wife and kids. At times, when I am able to set away time to write, as I sit down, the words that had been ready to pour through my typing fingers get stuck in place.

The good news for all that have been or are bogged down in the pit of despair as the story that you had been close enough to touch fades into the distance, is that the rain will come, washing the cobwebs from your mind and freeing your consciousness. Make sure to take advantage of these times. When I began to write book one of my Fantasy series, The Seeker’s Burden, I wrote nearly two chapters and then flailed my way through a drought of three to four years. I would often sit down to add to the story only to break down within mere sentences. The ability to make it through a full paragraph was heralded as a great success.  

Then one day in December 2012 the clouds parted and the words tumbled from me in a violent stream. Each new character bolstered my passion, each experience and story twist begged to be followed by more words until the book was suddenly done three months later. I wrote chapter after chapter, the total story holding my attention. Once the book was done and in the editing process, I was burned-out. Though I continued making notes and theorizing about the direction of the story arc, it took a couple months to want to get back into the hard work of writing.

Suddenly, I was once again hard at it, struggling to type before the screaming flow of words and information overtook my ability cope with the task. Within four months book two was written and in the editing process. I now have both books published and find myself back in the in-between space of contrasting lethargy and desire. At least this time I know that eventually, and soon I hope, the desire will overcome and I will once again be in the fight to get the words on paper before they are lost in the following words straining for my attention.

A word of encouragement. Do not give up. If you have the desire to write, the words will eventually build up until they are able to scale the ramparts of your mind and stream through the breach with bagpipes leading the charge. Be ready for that time. Allow yourself time, even when you are unable to write, to just sit and think about writing. Think about the story until the world or situation you want to write about becomes a part of you to the point that when someone asks a question about a gap in the story, you will be able to effortlessly fill it and more.

Enjoy it. If writing frustrates you, take some time away from it. Treat it like a relationship where sometimes a moment alone goes a long way to ease the tension. Do not force it until you hate the process. Write something you would want to read and open yourself to the possibility that however long it takes, the process, the creation and evolution of the characters and worlds, are what truly matters.

Completing a manuscript does not hurt either.