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Writer Burnout as You Approach The End

By on Friday, Oct 11, 2013 in Replenishing Your Muse, The Marathon of Writing a Book, Writer Burnout | 8 comments

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Yeah, yeah, I know, writing a book is a marathon. Don’t remind me, because I’m feeling the burn, baby! Here are Seven Signs you may be utterly toxic from struggling to the end of that elusive finish line:

–Coffee, ordinarily delicious and comforting and an aid to your muse, tastes bitter and disgusting and you never want another cup again.

–Your husband arrives home to find you in tears. Mumbling how you are in the last 50 pages and your book makes no sense and you think you have to delete the whole thing and start over.

–To take a break, you read a great, fabulous author because you only read the best when you are finishing your best draft, but instead of inspiring you, you start to cry. “I can never write like that! Why bother?” (This time it’s Kristan Higgins, The Best Man. So wonderful!)

–Your ass hurts from BICHOK (Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard). And your hamstrings, and your calves, and all the tendons in your hands.

–You know that this, your “final” draft, is almost done. You pray for it to be done. All you want is relief. Your characters are suffering, heading right into that blackest of moments, and you are contemplating heading out the window. You are laughing, weeping, mumbling to yourself, and in total despair. And just to tip yourself over the edge, you know this will not be THE final draft. Beta readers, agent will say no no no and you will have to wash and repeat. Probably multiple more times.

–You appear in public in sweats. Your deepest darkest secret is sometimes you don’t even dress until just before your kids come home from school.

–You keep saying, “I’ll clean [insert something appropriate here]______ when I’m done,” a task you despise. But right now it’s looking pretty good as a diversion. Scary!

I don’t know how this marathon will end. All I want is to muscle through and be done. I pound my head against the keyboard and drink my bitter coffee (better than eating through the fridge). I’m not a believer in waiting for inspiration to strike. Every day I sit here and slog it out, and every day I fix the slog from the day before. And most days I do this with a kind of joy I’ve never experienced before.

But burn out is burn out and when it reaches this level, sometimes you have to cave in to it and replete the muse by taking a damn day off. Maybe even two. Because you simply cannot write if you are insane. So today…I’m outa here!

Combating burnout…suggestions welcome!

South Carolina beach, a more tranquil place than my mind today!