Burn out

For the last couple of weeks, I've been researching and writing a story about burn out.

It's hard to imagine anyone in a creative profession (let alone people in helping professions) who doesn't from time to time hit that firey wall. Putting one's words, designs or images before the public lays them bare often to the cruelst scrutiny. People have told me to my face that they hate my writing; that a given piece "sucks" (a direct quote); that I've missed the mark or that they've elected to go a different direction (meaning, "you're fired").

It's taken years (and many of them) to develop any kind of shell at all. Early on, any rewrite, any inkling that an editor or client was anything but ecstatic would send me reeling. Now I know that not everyone is going to buy my act. Though I'm fairly versatile, I'm probably not the best fit for writing about aeronautical engineering to an engineering audience. Nor will I take technical writing jobs; I'd rather teach left handers to knit. I'm also not the strongest strategic thinker; I don't have the cojones to forge organizational directives.

Writing, too, requires intense focus and energy. To put words together in unique and coherent ways, words that add up to something, is day labor. When people tell me they have difficulty writing, I tell them, "I do, too." Over the years, I've gotten better at it, but it's no easier.

Too much writing leads to burn out; too little to starvation. Fresh writing requires new perspectives, a break in the action. Reading helps. So does travel. And great conversations when ideas pop and spark.

Anyway, I've got to get back to...writing. But I'm curious? How do y'all stay fresh?

Comments (2) -

October 28. 2009 13:28


I like to indulge my mind's ability to forge weird connections.  For instance, when I first read the title of this post I thought, "burn out?  Leslie's doing velvet burn out?  Me, too! Wow, we're always on the same track.  That is, if I ignore her fascination with ponchos.  But, we just won't talk about ponchos, and I can live with that.  We'll talk about velvet burn out.  Wonder what she's making?  A scarf?  A shawl?  Don't tell me a poncho!

Oh, wait.  It's that OTHER kind of burn out.  Bummer.  Well, really and truly, when I get burned out, I just walk away.  Tune out.  Go to a mall and wander around looking at crap I don't need until I'm thoroughly disgusted with myself for even being there. Get the car washed. Plan a big meal and cook it. Clean the kitchen junk drawer. Go to the library and just sit and smell the smell of books.

That's what I do.  Velvet burn out is more fun.  

threadingwater |

October 29. 2009 06:17


Great question! I find that writing my blog five stinking days a week is the best writing exercise for me. On a normal week for at least 4 out of 5 of those days I feel burned out and can't think of a thing to write about. Once I start rambling along, free-associating, something always comes to me. Quality definitely varies. Wink

Wendy |

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