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TACKLING WRITER'S BLOCK: BURNOUT AND BOREDOM

Tackling Writer's Block Part 3: Burnout and Boredom

By Amelia Cusanno


We’re Not Machines

Well folks, we’ve made it to part 3 of my writer’s block series! In case you haven’t read them yet and would like to, here is Part 1: Intro, Ambition, and Growth and Part 2: Inspiration (or Lack Thereof)

I’ve spent my whole life navigating the world with multiple disabilities that affect my learning, energy levels, and productivity. Dealing with mental illnesses and perfectionist tendencies on top of it makes it even more frustrating. It’s boring when I’m unable to participate in any hobbies or complete projects. Especially if you’re in school or working or taking care of family, burnout is bound to happen to anyone at any time. It’s a frigid wind that flies in without a warning, knocks you off your feet, and leaves you numb. It’s an unwanted guest crashing on your couch for days or months at a time, taking up your time and energy and resources. No matter what you do, writing is suddenly an impossible, meaningless task. If you find yourself struggling with burnout, listen to me closely:


Burnout isn’t a personal or moral failing of some kind. You aren’t an awful writer because you burnt out, and most importantly, it won’t last forever (even though it sometimes feels that way).


Listen to your body. In whatever way is easiest for you, keep an informal record of when you notice spikes in energy, what triggers interest and motivation, how much you’re currently writing (including personal projects, work, school, social media, communication with friends and family, etc.), and how much time you dedicate to other tasks and responsibilities. Do you need to balance your time better? Cut down on some less fulfilling activities? Maybe indulge in some new activities? Most importantly: It’s okay to take a break if you can. In fact, if you have the resources and time to do so, please take a break. If you need some more encouragement, then take the freaking break. Let your mind and body rest. Your entire life does not need to revolve around writing. You do not need to beat yourself up because you’re not writing every day and churning out book after book, essay after essay, poem after poem.


Pure Persistant Boredom

Remember how I said your life shouldn’t strictly revolve around writing? Take that to heart. Take long walks if possible, spend time with friends online or in-person, go on an internet deep-dive into some niche topic you’ve never explored before. Sign up for a new club or volunteer work. Binge a new TV show, host a movie marathon, play video games for hours at a time, listen to new music. Take up a random hobby. 

Memories, experiences, and observations that can spark new ideas or reignite old ones are found in the world around you. Unless you’re a creative powerhouse, you’re bound to burnout from sheer boredom. We aren’t machines or wizards conjuring up masterpieces from thin air. 

Writing is tedious, exhausting, and a LOT of mental stimulation. Like with burnout, don’t beat yourself up or think you’re a bad writer because you’re bored. I love writing. I’ve spent my whole life writing. I want nothing more than to land a career where I can continue writing. But I still get bored. I still go months without touching one of my novels or poetry collections because the thought of working on it makes my brain melt. I’ll glance over a plot outline and think “Man, do I have to write chapter 9 today? I really don’t want to…” 

When this happens, along with doing any of the suggestions I mentioned above, I cycle between projects. For a few months, I’ll usually stick to one before switching to another, and then I go back to the first later on. It keeps things fresh, I get practice with other genres, and it allows me to accomplish something else while my primary project is on the backburner.


Last Words

Writing is a complicated, rocky uphill battle. It’s not always fun or inspiring or revolutionary. But if you’re anything like me, it’s still a core part of who you are. Take your time learning, exploring, growing, and experiencing. Participate in writing communities and the world around you. How long you’ve been writing, how experienced you are, and how much you care can influence how easily you can tackle obstacles, but professional authors with giant fan bases still struggle with those exact things. I hope that by trying out some of these tips and writing prompts, you were able to gain some insight and apply it to your own writing journey. Good luck, my fellow creatives. You’ve got this!





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