Wednesday 4 April 2012

Burned out and washed up?

Hello all, remember me? Wow, this makes a change, a blog post that's not a photo prompt or a Friday flash!

I know, I know, I've been somewhat lacking when it comes to writing blog posts of late. I've been telling myself it's because I've been too busy. If I haven't been working on stuff for my teacher training course, I've been prepping for teaching sessions. If I'm not doing that, I'm writing Friday flashes, putting in some words on To Kill A Dead Man, planning the next book I'm going to write, or working on my PhD's literature review. Or, if I'm honest, I'm killing things in Azeroth on Warcraft.

It's all perfectly reasonable. I've got a lot on. But it's more than that. It seems that I get plenty of ideas for posts, and they're all entered into an 'Ideas' note I have in the Blog notebook in my Evernote app. And that's about as far as they go. Anyone who follows me on Twitter (@icypop) knows I waffle on about blog posts I think I'll write, or that I want to write...but then they never materialise. I think I have isolated the problem.

My creative drive appears to have shrunk to the size of a walnut. Therefore writing down the idea seems to satisfy that drive, and I no longer have an urge to finish writing the damned thing. Simply recording the idea was enough. It's an absolute wonder that I've even bothered to write this one! I tell myself that it's saving myself from publishing a load of crap on here but...nah.

Trouble is, the problem extends to more than just my (erratic) blog posts. It's also begun to extend to my fiction as well. I've got an Evernote notebook dedicated to Fiction, and I keep all my ideas for stories in separate notes. Right now, I've got thirty notes of ideas I'm yet to use. Sometimes it's because I'll have an idea I want to use, but then I have another idea I use instead, but the problem seems to be that once I've written the outline, I no longer have an urge to write the story itself. It's like my brain is stuck in 'summary mode'.

If I'm worries me. I see all of these blog posts and tweets about the work people are putting into their writing careers, and I feel like I'm just sitting on my hands watching the world pass me by. All the writers I know seem to be writing in every spare moment they have, while I'm finding excuses not to write.

So, I guess the question is...have I finally burned out?


Okami said...

We all hit walls in our personal and professional lives at some point. Perhaps you just need a break, focus on you and what you really want. I know that I am there right now. My solution, or an attempt at one, is 4 weeks off from my job and trying to spend much of that time thinking about what I really want from the rest of my life. Perhaps you are burned out, but I'm sure that it is only temporary. Focus on school and what you want and don't worry about producing - you may find your answer. Good luck! I hope that i am able to find mine.

JoniB said...

No, I wouldn't say burned out - but drained. You just listed quite a few places that you are expending energy on but none in which you feed your creative soul. How about borrowing Julia Cameron's idea and go on some Artist Dates? You need to take care of your self or you can't take care of us (your readers). Savvy?

Tim VanSant Writes said...

You may be burned out, but I seriously doubt there is anything final about it. Give yourself a break and I would bet money [if I had any] that you'll come back around to writing again.

Katherine Hajer said...

It sounds to me that you've been doing an awful lot of writing -- it's just that a chunk of it has been for academic purposes. To me it doesn't sound like you're burned out. More just low on amperage. You can only draw so much power from the battery at once, you know?

Helen A. Howell said...

I think you just need a small break and a change, then it will all fall into place again.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you need a break. Everyone hits a creative block from time to time - plenty of ideas, but no motivation to do anything with them. I went through a creative block that lasted about 6 months, then one day I saw something on a repeat of Art Attack (of all things!) and suddenly got my muse back. All it takes is for something random to pique your interest and then next thing you know you're creating again.

A creative person never stops being creative. They just hit the wall from time to time. Don't be so hard on yourself, my dear.

Tony Noland said...

Being drained and in need of a break can feel like being burned out. Other comments have said this, but I'll agree.

When I take what is supposed to be a break, it's never restful and restorative if I spend the whole time worrying about what I'm not doing. It took me a long time to learn how to let go, and to let time off serve its purpose.

It may be that what you need is some very different kind of activity to reset your mind. Physical activity out in the sunshine always does it for me - yard work, hiking, camping, etc.

Regardless, I hope you feel the mojo flow back soon.

Peter Newman said...

Feels awful doesn't it. I'm in a kind of slumnp myself so muchos sympathy.

Larry Kollar said...

Burned out? Maybe. Washed up? I seriously doubt it. We all have 24 hours in a day, and we need about 1/3 of that to sleep. Meanwhile, you're "writing Friday flashes, putting in some words on To Kill A Dead Man, planning the next book… or working on my PhD's literature review." Sounds like you've got plenty of creative stuff going on.

I've been blocked on major projects for months at a time — but sooner or later, things start rolling again. You're still doing a lot of writing in your down-time, so imagine what it will be like when you're past it!

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of support out here for you, Icy.
Your ideas are seeds. Keep watering the garden.
I find only seem to get choko vines and tomato plants for a while, but eventually the flowers grow.
Adam B @revhappiness

Icy Sedgwick said...

Thank you to everyone for your comments. You're all right, of course, I guess sometimes you just need to hear it, you know? I'm going to try restricting myself to just writing a Friday flash a week to satisfy my creative drive, and if I want to write anything else, then I will, but I won't beat myself up about it if I don't. Who knows, maybe I'll suddenly feel the urge to write once I've got this academia out of the way!

Heath Lowrance said...

You're not burnt out, you're just torn in many directions. It's obvious from reading even your status updates that you're just as fresh and lively as ever; it's only ever a matter of focusing.

And keeping notebooks with your ideas is a great idea, eve if they sit for a long time. Sometimes, they NEED to sit. They can eventually turn into something bigger and better than you had initially thought.

Steven Chapman said...

You've burned out...for now. We all have mini burnouts and recover from them after a little while; the best thing about them is that when you come back, you come back hard! You'll be back on top form in now time.

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