Thursday, May 10, 2007

What to Do When You're Tired of Writing

I'm going through a phase right now where I'm tired of writing. Literally, it's all I can do to update my blog and turn out client projects. It's not spring fever - that usually passes in a few days - this is something more like exhaustion and boredom (not for client ears!).

So, when freelance writing is your job, what do you do when something like this happens? Following are three things that help - until you can take that week off and head to the beach.

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1. Examine the Slump: If you find that "I don't feel like writing" feeling turning into a "I don't like writing" feeling, then it's time to examine if your slump is something more.

For each person, the timeframe for examining when it's more than a slump will be different, but listen to your gut.

Every writer goes through periods where they can't stand their computer. This usually passes in a relatively short period of time.

But, like every other profession, maybe your "writing" career has run its course. Or, maybe it's time to take your skill in another direction. Eg, instead of business writing, maybe you'd like to try fiction writing. Or, maybe you'd like to be a researcher instead.

Freelance writers may experience some sense of guilt if they find that they don't like their job because everyone thinks they're crazy - after all, you get to work in your jammies and be home all the time. Who wouldn't love that?

But, this life is not for everyone. So, don't be afraid to face this possibility if that's what it really is.

2. Just do it: Like any other job, you just have to sit down and get to it. I can be the biggest procrastinator in the world, especially when I'm working on a project that doesn't interest me.

I will find 90 different things that need my attention - except for the one that pays my bills. BUT, eventually, I plop my derriere in a chair and bang out what I need to bang out.

And, you know what? Once I get started, I usually find the inspiration to do more than is required. Sometimes, just sitting down and getting started is all that's needed.

So, just do it!

3. Work on Other Stuff: I've been wanting to update my website, but haven't had time to. I still don't really, but, I've allotted a portion of my week to working on this now that I'm in this little "I don't want to write phase."

I don't have the luxury of outright not writing, much like many don't have the option of not going to work when they don't' feel like it. BUT, I can shift my attention. As for writing, I do only what's absolutely necessary, then work on other projects.

Make these projects work related, so you don't feel like you've abandoned your career altogether. Eg, tackle marketing.

Many freelance writers shove this to the side all too often. So, if you don't want to write - for whatever reason - make marketing your priority. Submit old content to free article directories, re-design your website, send out copies of your free e-book, etc.

This serves a double purpose: (i) you get the word out about your product/services; and (ii) you get inspired when you start getting orders and/or more work from your marketing efforts.

Sometimes, all you need is a little push, a little validation to get you inspired again.
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BloggingWriter said...

There must be something in the air. Every writer I know is talking about burnout. Here's my take on it.

I said to someone yesterday that I couldn't afford not to write when I have clients so no matter how I feel I'll have to keep going.

Inkwell Editorial said...

Sharon, poster spinayarn made a good point, ie, "It seems to me that the burn out rate is tied to the value you place on the activity."

Lately, I've been working on a lot of stuff that I don't particularly enjoy. BUT, I've never enjoyed writing for the sake of writing, unlike most freelancers I suppose. I fell into this career and like the freedoms it affords me -- and I happen to have a knack for it -- but as I get older I'm thinking maybe my lack of passion for writing itself is catching up to me. Only time will tell. Thanks for putting your two cents in. It's always nice to know "I'm not the only one."


Anonymous said...

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