When it’s Impossible to Generate Hot Content From Within the Fires of Burnout
Maybe you woke up to find 40 solo orders waiting for you, each requiring a topic pitch. Perhaps you’ve got a favorite client who sends you daily blog post assignments on the subject of your choice. At some point in their careers, most all web content writers will pass through that valley of the shadow of creative death called BurnoutVille.
It’s not that you don’t want to write – you can’t write. The finger flesh is willing, but the mental muse is weak, if not deceased. Your writing voice has gone from fresh and edgy to trite and formulaic. You don’t care about creative content, and you can’t remember why, or how, you ever cared.
Admit (aloud) that you’re sick to death of words, ideas, SEO, and fluff. Seek self-caring relief that allows your burnout to run its course. And it will. Eventually.
Cathart, release, repeat
Laugh, rage, sob. Channel the ferocious energy of pent-up emotions in the most effective way for your unique wiring. Binge watch a Netflix sitcom you missed the first time around. 30 Rock? Arrested Development? If stand-up comedy is your thing, immerse yourself in performances by your favorites that are guaranteed to elicit healing LOLs from you.
Are you a crier? Find a catalyst (tragic movie? physical exertion? pillow beating?) and let ‘er rip until you feel spent. I recently went out for a walk in the throes of suffocating burnout and ended up in a small town family graveyard. I read the headstones and perched on top of one where I enjoyed a 30-minute sobfest. I returned home revived and calm.
Vacate your mind, inhabit your body
Introverted creatives especially may be prone to overthinking, mentally catastrophizing, and protracted periods of negative self-talk in that big conference room between the ears. Sensual types often find revival in luxurious massage, salt soak bathtubs, or long afternoon naps.
Scrubbing floors and organizing closets is frequently therapeutic and “fun” for the OCD types among us. A vigorous uphill hike that requires non-stop belly breathing or a marathon firewood-splitting session often serves to center and balance writers with more earthy temperaments.
Swear off the writers’ forums
As helpful as the online communities can be when you need info, when you’re teetering on that narrow ledge of sanity and exhaustion, absorbing a whole lot of other peoples’ energy is certain death. The gripes, projections, opinions, personal problems, and dysfunctional family bickering will suck you dry. At least that’s my experience.
It’s probably helpful to scale back all of your online reading, and perhaps even your printed word intake, to stem the over-stimulating flow of ceaseless information.
Take a legit vacation
It’s easy for full-time web content writers to slip into the routine of working every day. Even if you only crank out one short blog post on Saturday and whip out a half dozen product descriptions on Sunday, you suddenly realize that several weeks of daily work have passed and your creative reserves are running in the dark maroon.
Stop. Totally. Sometimes the only way through a writer’s crash and burn is around it. Take as many consecutive days away from the computer as your finances allow, and promise your sweet writer self that you will start proactively planning for regular recreational unplug periods.
Laura W promises her sweet writer self that life will include more laughing, sobbing, and massage.