Writing Less to Earn More: Why Working Through Burnout Doesn’t Work
Creativity is a muscle that needs to be exercised to grow and thrive. Unfortunately, like any other muscle, you can strain your creativity if you use it too vigorously or too often. Instead of a pulled muscle, we just call it burnout.
Any writer is subject to burnout, especially those who write multiple articles each day. And just like working out with a strained muscle, writing through a case of burnout can cause even worse injuries. If you don’t have interest and enthusiasm for what you’re writing, your words on the screen will be flat, lifeless, and apt to be sent back for revision. You should be proud of your work, whether it’s for blog writing services or private clients, and that’s hard to do when you’re slogging through the day just to get it done. Poor work won’t impress a client, and it definitely won’t pave the way for higher-paying writing gigs.
There’s only one way to fix writer burnout: get away from the words. Your mind is like a rechargeable battery; you can use it only for so long before you need recharging, especially when it comes to creative work. Yes, deadlines are deadlines, but clients can be more flexible than you think. If you’re suffering from the worst of it and simply can’t face another day writing, drop a note to everyone who is expecting work. Ask for a short extension. For those who agree, put their work on your calendar. If you have any clients who absolutely need the work, finish up their pieces and then shut it down. Take a day off and do something completely pleasurable. Avoid the computer completely and use a different part of your brain by walking, playing sports, or doing crafts.
It may go against logic to stop writing in order to earn more money, but the key is in how you work when your mind is worn out. It takes longer to write each article, words don’t come as easily, and you may even sit staring at the keyboard for long periods of time, just to create the first sentence in a piece of work. Ramping up your mind to a more effective place is the best way to earn more per hour and end up with better content for your clients.
Taking a day or two off can cure most cases of burnout, but the ideal situation is to avoid it in the first place. Burnout occurs when you keep working for too many days in a row without a break. Put one or two days a week on your schedule as days off, and never schedule work then, no matter how important the clients. If you worked a brick-and-mortar store you would have scheduled days off and rarely think about work when you were gone. Develop this same mind set about your writing business and you’ll prevent having to deal with burnout again.
Victoria B is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.