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Signs of Burnout for a Writer

fill your cup productivity tool writing process Aug 08, 2023
  • Have you found yourself pushing yourself to finish that last round of edits even though you’re so exhausted?
  • Are you overwhelmed by the deadlines that no one but you created?
  • Do you find yourself wanting to write but when you sit down, you can’t find the words?
  • Do you compare your capacity to write to others, especially in seasons such as Preptober and NaNoWriMo?
  • Have you lost all energy or motivation to write?

All of these feelings are signs of your main resource - energy - depleting, which can only mean one thing:


First, know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We often talk about it and try our best to avoid it, but are we continuously falling into the same cycles that drive us to burnout?

So, what do we do? How do we not only recognize but break the burnout cycles we’ve created?

To start, you’ll want to dig deep into what drives YOU to burnout. You may be driven by the fear of losing momentum in your writing, setting self-imposed deadlines, or you might be comparing your capacity to that of others. You might be focusing solely on the outcome over the process. When our only goal is the outcome, we lose trust in ourselves and the process. We spend so much time focusing on the future (the outcome) that we can’t focus on the present (the process), so you rob yourself of the writing flow.

We want to race ourselves to the outcome because we want results now. Even though it’s normal to feel that way, it’s not healthy. Losing the chains to your self-imposed deadlines or comparison to others’ capacity will free your mind and energy so you can focus on what’s most essential to your writing - the process.

You’ve got to take care of YOU. Rest and self-care are not just recommended; they’re required.

Lastly, recognize those red flags, such as pushing through even when you’re tired from the day or saying ‘yes’ to a friend’s ask when you have nothing of yourself left to give.

The best news is that you can help prevent burnout. 

  • Schedule time for rest! Write it down so you get the dopamine hit of crossing it off when you’re done, too!
  • Be consistent. Turn your writing time into a habit. This can look like 200 words per week or one Prickle per week or at least 30 minutes while you’re waiting for your clothes to be ready from the dryer.
  • Stop while you’re ahead. Don’t push yourself past your limits but rather stop right before you reach them. This takes discipline and confidence in Future <first name> (which will build trust WHEN you show up again tomorrow – or whenever you set your next writing time!).

It’s important to recognize that despite your best attempts, burnout can happen regardless. 
But when it does, self-compassion is the way out.

Quill & Cup is a fiercely supportive community that serves women from all around the world who commit to showing up to their writing consistently and are open to evolving as writers and people. Together, we work through roadblocks in the writing process by leaning into continued education on writing craft and research-based practices for an empowered mindset. We offer members an average of five live learning experiences per month! If you can't make it live, that's no big -- we have over 50 hours of content on craft, mindset, and authorpreneurship available for members in our Webinar Replays Library.

Would you like to learn and be empowered with us?  Start your free 7 day trial today! See you at the table soon, sister!

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