7 Things That Will Help You Start Writing And Recover From Burnout

Burnout is a fact of life in creative activities as demanding as writing. It takes discipline and passion for writing, but there will be days when these attributes are simply not enough.

A Few Things To Help You Start Writing

Writing is an activity that is sometimes hard work. Other creative activities such as creating artwork are much more fun to do. For example, the process of painting an oil painting is a pleasure for me, and it is rewarding to have done it. Not so for writing, the process of writing words is tough and the editing your work.

Polishing up a post or article is hard work that takes concentration right when the energy lags. At the end of the struggle, however, it’s even more rewarding to write and either publish or deliver a well-written piece of content than drawing or painting.

Determine your best writing time

Take a step back and think about what is the best time of day to write. For me, it’s the early morning and then in the evening. If you commit to writing every day, you will have to build your other activities around these times. You may find that morning afternoon or late at night are best for you, make time in your schedule for your writing.

To write something good, write something bad first

If you feel blocked, just write whatever gibberish you can put on the screen; save the perfection for later. It’s an odd rule that you can often get going by eliminating the value of the words you create. If you write throwaway words, they will loosen you up enough to get into a productive state of mind. Remember you can always erase it later.

Work in cyclical waves

The writing process is very personal, and you have to find out for yourself the rhythm and pace for how you create completed writing projects. My process goes roughly in three stages: Formulating the outline, bulk writing, and finishing up. Formulating the draft is the process of figuring out what to write; it’s the researching, notes and outlining that you do before you start writing.

Writing the bulk is just getting down to the process of putting the idea into a saved file of some kind, which might be Word, Scrivener, Evernote, or a simple text editor like Emacs. The final part is the hardest, and I’m facing it right now as I write; completing the draft, putting it in order, and proofreading it to put the polish on it.

Write in short bursts

Keeping your periods of output short is another take on working in waves. Mental productivity is a funny thing, for me at least. I start out strong and fade. Then, I achieve more just as I decide to stop. Writing in short bursts will give you a paragraph or two of good stuff at first. With time you’ll find that your endurance and productivity improve for longer bursts of concentration.

Change your surroundings

Writing in short bursts, interspersed with scenery changes, is another variation of the principle of working in waves. Sometimes I like quiet to write, and other times the bustle of a coffee house seems to energize my output. Move around and find the places that set the right atmosphere in which to get your writing done.

Let YouTube transcribe your words

If you have ideas but intimidated by the thought of writing, try speaking into a video camera instead. If you upload it to YouTube.com, the service will automatically transcribe it for you. With a bit of fiddling, you can download the transcript, and you will have a draft that you can finish up yourself or give to a service to complete at a reduced cost.

The other obvious things you probably already know

Your physiological state has a direct impact on your psychological state. So writing gets more results if you are rested and not hungry nor stuffed from a heavy meal. Make sure that you get enough sleep the night before you sit down to write and exercise is forever the source of energy and lectures about health.

You Will Find Honor And Value In Writing For Yourself

Occasionally, someone asks if I can write content for them and they get this pale and horrified look when I explain my terms and pricing. Mostly it’s the pricing if you think about it, professional writers have to set a rate that allows them to earn a living.

Freelancers work as contractors to companies or agencies as part of marking operations. The hard truth is that unless you have a corporate marketing budget, you will have to create your digital content yourself.

Yes, it’s hard to do it, particularly at first; if your keyboard skills are rusty, it will be frustrating. You will eventually feel more comfortable and see the volume of content grow on your website will be the most rewarding part of the process.

Content Creation Is Rewarding

I must say that I have found it difficult to do my own writing. That may sound ridiculous, but I’m accustomed to writing for clients and spending the rest of my time seeking more projects. So, yeah, I need to take my own medicine. The most difficult part for me is the last ten or twenty percent.

Like the rule in economics, the small part seems to take more energy than the much larger bulk of the draft in rough form. The discipline to complete a final draft is the most challenging. However, once you start writing, it is always a great feeling at the end when there is an end product to show for all the work along the way.


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A Mac writer using Scrivener