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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Surviving Burn Out

Barbara Bretton has a wonderful post about surviving writer's block. The only thing I would add is the power of prayer.

I Was A Burned-Out, Middle-Aged Romance Writer =or= How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Process

Before I burned out in February 1992, I'd labored under many assumptions about the reality of work and writing and self-discipline. I believed that showing up was half the battle, that inspiration and artistic temperament were both highly overrated, that I could conquer outside forces by the sheer force of my will--and I believed burnout could never happen to me.

I was wrong.

Burnout is real, it's powerful, and it can sneak up on you when you least expect it. Burnout is the flip side of creativity and yet it's the least talked-about phenomenon in publishing. You'll find it easier to get a rock star to expound on impotence than to convince a working writer to admit to being burned out.

Seven years ago I felt the same way. Burnout was what happened to other writers, writers who weren't as dedicated as I was. Writers who didn't love the process as much as I did. Writers who weren't as creative, as disciplined (creative discipline -- there's an oxymoron for you), as clever.

Now I know better.

I had managed to work through the deaths of two grandparents, the hospitalization of a third, a broken right hand, and having my parents move one mile away from me without missing a beat. Yet after bringing in an important book on deadline I found myself suddenly and unexpectedly stopped cold.

A week without writing became two weeks. Two weeks became a month, and after two months I finally realized that the only thing I was doing at the computer was playing Gin Rummy with the Bull Dog in the Hoyle program. This was more than taking a break between books, more than your run-of-the-mill procrastination. No matter how hard I tried to put a good face on it, the facts were impossible to ignore. I wasn't writing and I had no idea when--or if--I would write again.

And that's when I made the smartest decision of my life. I decided to do the unthinkable: I told the truth.

Read the rest here!

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