Monday, May 2, 2011

Project Burn Out (or, "Why I Hate My Novel")

I have this great article bookmarked:
Recover from Writing Burn Out

Most of the time, when I suffer from "Writer's Block," what I'm really suffering from is project-related burn out.

I'm one of those writers who has to be dragged, kicking and screaming, away from a project. The revision on my novel is a prime example. I planned for one month of revision (January). The novel was in worse shape than I remembered. Okay, so I'll need two months. That's it. Wait . . . make that three. No, no . . . I'm almost done with this first revision . . . I just need one more month.

I've been working on this first revision (FIRST revision) for four months!

Since I'm aware of my can't-let-go problem, I usually try to make sure I have at least two projects in the works at any given time. In theory, when I get sick of working on one project, I can switch to the other. Notice I said, "in theory?" Yeah. I had two projects going: novel revision and revision/edits on a short story. And just how is that short story project going? I don't know. I haven't seen it in over a month . . . maybe two!

So. I drew a line in the sand. No matter what, I was going to stop revising the novel, set it aside, and let it rest for the whole month of May. My May projects are going to be Story-A-Day (you can get info here) and (finally!) finishing up the short story I was supposed to be working on concurrently with the novel.

Instead of writing a complete story every day in May (unrealistic for me), I'm planning on getting at least 2000 words a day done, Monday through Friday. And no continuations; in other words, every day has to be 2000 words on a new story, so by the end of the month I'll have 22 new stories at least started (if I get most or all of them finished, that's icing on the cake).

And during this month, I'm not allowed to even open my novel file!

How do you beat writer's burn out?

~ ~ ~

Links for writers:

The Electronic Publishing Bingo Card

Forward Motion Writing Community

Encyclopedia of Weapons by Era

Internet Movie SCRIPT Database

Beat Blank Page Syndrome


  1. I am the same way. Since I write only short stories I have piles of them in various stages of completeness. It isn't so much burn out as boredom with me.

  2. Brenda, my book has gone through four different revisions in six years and two agents, and I gave up writing for two years. I wrote a work of fiction back in 2005 and am taking it to my writers' group. I am overwhelmed with the changes I have to make...I just don't feel it the way I did back in 2005. I know just how you feel, so just move on to a new idea, and hopefully, you will be inspired by some event in your life to resume the old project. Sometimes you need distance to get a better feel for it.


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