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Conquering Burnout

            It’s the end of NaNoWriMo and while many of you are geared up and ready to go at it again, just as many may be burned out. For me it’s the end of school and I’m not burned out, but school has effectively stifled my creative genius. You try writing when you’re not sure how this grade for a test that’s impossible to ace is going to look.

            Anyway, it happens we get burned out either because we’ve been writing too much or life just gets to you. I spoke in this conversation on the absolute write forums (it’s in my blogroll). The writer was just saying how they hate everything they write. They can’t stand it. They start off excited and then it drops off.

            Well let me tell you, being a writer is not an easy thing, especially when it looks like you’ve put so much work into it and you’re not getting anything in return. I know the feeling and when life starts to get to you and people start talking impatient talk about what you’re going to do with your writing or assume that since you major in English you’re going to be a teacher, it can put a damper on your spirits to the point where you hate the craft and aren’t happy with anything because it just isn’t good enough.

            I know. It happened to me. I tried to write and couldn't write, and I stopped writing for a long time just because it looked like things were getting nowhere. My personal solution? I up and decided to write a fanfic one day. Don’t ask me why. I just did and I posted it on the biggest fanfiction site online, fanfiction.net

            There was something rather therapeutic on that. For one, you can get instant gratification in the form of reviews and not just from the people who are going to review a bad story just because their favorite shipping is in it. I got the writers who would do in-depth analysis and critiques and gave me advice to make the story better. I always was one to go against the grain and so I always explored new ideas and execution that others either didn’t think of or rather didn’t have the guts to try because it would be hard to pull off. So as a result, I got a lot of readers. It wasn’t in vain though. I learned a lot from fanfiction

            When you’re dealing with other people’s characters and you’re a perfectionist like me who wants them to stay in character as much as possible while evolving it to fit another role, it takes some careful thinking and imagining the voices in your head and asking “what would this character do?” So I learned a lot about characterization.

            I also managed to develop my style and learn to recognize it. Also, because I’m obsessed with going against the trend, I developed a knack for execution and learned exactly how execution made all the difference.

            I also learned boatloads about editing and proofreading and learned I just have to take it one chapter at a time and edit as thought I’m going to be post my novel on the internet tomorrow.

            So my point is while it seemed frivolous, I was still learning and studying writing, but sometimes it’s good to take a different approach and get some pride back into your writing when you learn you’re not that terrible of a writer at all, you just need the opportunity.

            Now I’m not telling everyone to go write some fanfiction when you burn out or need a break, but what I am saying is find something else to do that related to writing, but not your novel. Enter some contests, get on forums and edit other people’s stuff. Do something where you’re learning about the craft, can rekindle your love for the craft, so that when you’re finally ready to face your writing in a few months, you’ll have new focus and renewed passion.

            Everyone’s outlet won’t be the same, but whatever works for you. Take a year off if that’s what you need. Hope this helped someone. Now off to edit some more.

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