Linda Maye Adams

I is for Idleness: Writer Burnout


I’ve probably lost my mind this month.  In addition to working on revising my novel — a challenge in itself, since I seem to be destined to have to add to it — I’m also taking two writing courses, and participating in the A to Z challenge.   I also got invited to write for another blog.

The writing courses are Structure Safari and From Madness to the Method.  Safari has been giving me fits because we’re on theme, and I can’t get to what the theme in my book is because I can’t figure what theme is.  M2M uses Method Acting to add emotions.  One small problem is that’s one of the things I’m adding to the novel (evidently, it’s a problem with pantsers).  The A to Z challenge is to write 26 blogs and post them on specific days during April.  I write a week’s worth and schedule them on the blog.  The other blog is Unleaded Fuel for Writers, but it only requires a post every other Tuesday.

It is a LOT of writing.  I haven’t done this much since I was trying to break into Hollywood and wrote a script a week.  A script is anywhere from 50 pages to 120, depending on the type of script.  So, essentially, it was a full, completed story, first draft to revision, in a week.  I finished one and launched on another one, and burned myself out.  Ever since then, I’ve been afraid — perhaps too afraid — of burning myself out again.   At times, I feel like I’m overwhelmed, and I want to push back to slow things way down.  But I’m also making sure I take time out for some idleness, something I didn’t know enough to do during my screenwriting days.  Idleness, while it looks not productive, helps recharge the creative batteries.

QUESTION FOR YOU: What’s been your experience with writing this much?  How do you balance it out so you don’t suffer from burnout?

13 Comments

  1. Been there, and it’s a pain. Especially if you need to keep writing. I don’t have a good solution. I do know if I just stop–stop email, blogging, texting, reading and tweeting for a few days it helps.
    Diana
    http://www.pencildancer.com

    Like

    • I’ve been thinking of slowing tweeting down on the weekend. It’s never quite as busy on Sunday through Monday.

      Like

      • Linda, that might be a good idea. My weekends are packed. Diana

        Like

  2. That’s a lot of writing, but I think it’s good. I wish I had the willpower to have a specific writing schedule. I’m loving doing the atozchallenge because it’s forcing me to write every day and to be creative. I guess I like structure, a deadline and people holding me accountable. Left to my own devices, I’m kind of lazy.
    So, I say keep it up! Be prolific!

    Like

    • But it’s sometimes hard to come up with subjects!

      Like

  3. I never do more than I can handle. I WAS going to continue with my almost completed book, but I find reading other blogs on this challenge way too interesting–and absorbing. It’s time to close for the night for me now in England. Have a good day and pace yourself.

    http://francene-wordstitcher.blogger.com

    Like

    • The problem I’ve had over the years is that I pulled back because I thought I couldn’t handle it. My work has been so chaotic for the last eight months that it’s almost like this is a way to balance it out.

      Like

  4. Hi 🙂

    Just popping in from the A-Z Challenge *waves*

    WOW…. I am in awe! How do you do it? Lol

    I’ve been doing a post a day on my blog plus I’m doing a writing prompt a day for the whole of 2012 and I’m beginning to flake lol

    Xx

    Like

    • It’s a challenge, isn’ti t? I had two letters this week that I could not figure out what to come up with. I finally did. I’m pleased I already have one prepped for next week — O, but I still need to work on the rest.

      Like

      • good for you!

        I’m just off out to my writing class so tomorrows post won’t get done til about 11pm tonight. Not ideal but can’t be helped sometimes 😉

        Xx

        Like

  5. Wow a script a week! I’m impressed. Yeah, the A-Z challenge is a challenge, like you, I write a week at a time, I’m up to “S” – I moving countries in the middle of the challenge so have to write in advance and schedule – I burned out on the last batch I wrote and noticed they got shorter- yet have also stumbled on someone who writes magical gems in about 150 words – that’s my next goal. For this year’s challenge it’s under 500 words = Places I’ve Lived. 26 letters isn’t enough.

    Like

    • My goal was to try to keep them around 150-200 words. I didn’t want it consume all my time, and 600 word posts every day would have done that.

      Like

  6. I feel you — I have edits on my book due and a magazine article due on top of blogging three times a week, and it’s the season of my kids end of year activity — extra dance practices for the recital, extra martial arts classes for the tournament and belt testing … add in my daughter’s taking driver’s ed … and I’m exhausted! I’ve backed off Social Media quite a bit, just trying to make brief appearances every other day or so, and eased up on my expectations for chores and such around the home. Other than that … I’m keeping in mind that it’s only for a short season. Thankfully!

    Like

%d bloggers like this: