25 February 2020

Writer Burnout

Anyone who knows me well knows I'm not a great juggler. If I'm editing a client's book I'm not writing my own fiction. I like to work on one creative project at a time, be it my own or someone else's. And developmental editing is definitely creative for me. Looking for issues with characterization, for ways to enhance a plot, for when pacing sags, and so much more, all tap into my creative side.

That means I only write a few weeks a year. I sometimes have a week here, two weeks there between projects to devote to writing. That's it. Sometimes I go for months without typing a word. And that's why I usually rev up when I have writing time coming, excited for the story or stories I'll create. But not now.

I finished my last editing project a few days ago, with the next one still a few days off, and ... nothing. I thought I had an idea, finally, for a story for the Bouchercon anthology, but the plot doesn't work. I combed through my files of story ideas I email myself year round so I could run with them when the opportunity presents itself. But none of them sparked joy.

I think sometimes you just have to admit that you're burned out and you're not going to get any writing done this week, even though it's your first writing week in ages. And it's okay.

At least that's what I keep telling myself.

The muse will reappear eventually. It always does. But until then, I'm going to go watch a movie with my dog. Happy Tuesday!


  1. Barb, sometimes when I need inspiration (at least when I lived closer to the coast) I drive up Pacific Coast Highway, music blasting, and more times than not it would help loosen things up and the ideas would come flowing. So you might want to take a drive. On the other hand, maybe you really do just need a break. Sometimes I think that's the best solution. So enjoy your dog and the movie.

  2. My nettlesome muse insists about an hour a day at the keyboard .... but that’s just my fight against the dreaded block ...
    Best wishes from the Gulf coast...

  3. Sometimes the saddle's slippery when you try to climb back on it. It's okay. Just stand by the horse and breathe for a while. It will come.

  4. So understand! I've written 60 plots (over 40 short stories and 17 novels) and it's getting harder to find something I haven't written before. To be creative and find original plots takes time. I don't rush it. They'll come. And then I'll scrambling for paper and pencil at the side of the bed - and other places, grin.

  5. I wish I had advice, but I don't. I do keep a file of ideas, so at times I have turned to them.

    Developmental editing is fun for me, but all that good work remains behind the scenes. (sigh)

  6. I hope you stumbled on something that just poured out of you, and got it in, in the nick of time!

    But, if that didn't happen, just remember: Your accomplishments are myriad! Your abilities are FAR more than impressive. And, your battery can, and will, be recharged!

    Oh, and the driving thing works for me too! (I have no idea why. LOL)

    Keep your stick on the ice; we're all in this together!*

    *Can't take credit for that one. It's from the immortal Red Green.

  7. I just saw your reply, Dixon. That was very nice of you. Thank you. I didn't get anything written for the anthology, but I'm sure my muse will return sooner or later. There's always next year.


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