Writer’s Burnout: Really Useful Links by Lucy O’Callaghan

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Lucy O'Callaghan

Lucy O’Callaghan

For those of you taking part in NaNoWriMo, burnout may be lurking in the background as you reach the halfway point. While NaNoWriMo is fantastic in giving you the push to start writing and build a routine, it can also be exhausting. It can be difficult to keep going when you’re feeling tired of writing, if you are worn out, frustrated, and beginning to hate your writing. If you feel like you are wilting a little, don’t worry, you probably aren’t the only one. I have put together some articles and podcasts that will help you understand writer’s burnout and how to work through it.

  1. https://thetrustybookmark.com/writing-performance/5-key-ways-writers-avoid-burnout-nanowrimo-and-beyond/

Burnout can occur at all stages of the writing process, from research to writing and editing, and can damage both your physical and mental health. If you’ve fallen prey to burnout, don’t beat yourself up; self-care and understanding will help. However, avoiding burnout in the first place is important.

This article shares 5 key ways writers can avoid burnout for NaNoWriMo and beyond. It advises you to use practical and actionable tips to create a sustainable writing process and reduce the risk of burnout and avoid a motivational crash. The tips include, consistently working at 80% output for long-term productivity, being both realistic and forgiving with yourself, prioritising self-care (both physical and mental health), giving yourself permission to relax and refill your creative well, and finally, celebrating your victories.

  1. https://www.jessicabrody.com/2019/11/5-tips-for-avoiding-novel-writing-burnout/

Jessica Brody, author of Save the Cat Writes a Novel, shares 5 tips to avoid writer burnout. These include ending your writing sessions before you’re finished so that you leave something exciting to work on tomorrow, taking 2 minutes every time you get up to tidy your workspace, hydrate and refuel, and take productive brain breaks as well as exercising.

  1. https://writetodone.com/recover-from-writing-burn-out-18-tips-for-writing-with-gusto/

This article lists what can cause writer’s burnout and the different symptoms which can be physical, emotional, or behavioural. It goes on to share 18 tips to bring back the joy to your writing including, decluttering your desk, learning to accept constructive criticism, doing some freewriting, connecting with yourself, decompressing and reflecting, and trying a change of scenery.

  1. https://nybookeditors.com/2020/06/how-to-overcome-creative-burnout/

New York Book Editors discuss how to conquer writer’s fatigue and reignite your creative passion. It lists common symptoms and advises you to take time away from writing; you can’t replenish your creative self without taking a break. Schedule your writing and gets lots of rest. Discovering the creativity of others can help you to recharge: read a book, watch a movie, or listen to music.

  1. https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2018/05/11/healthy-writer-tips-managing-stress-anxiety-and-burnout/

There are three main components to burnout: emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation, and personal accomplishment. The Creative Penn shares some action points on managing stress, burnout, and anxiety including, acknowledging your feelings, allowing yourself to get organised, starting saying no, and trying a digital fast.


  1. https://open.spotify.com/episode/5sjspC8bx0atmfMyF8k3Mz

This podcast by How to Win at Nano is called This is too hard, what am I doing wrong? It is all about the darker side of NaNoWriMo. The bad writing days, how to recover when you are falling behind, and why you should continue anyway.

  1. https://www.well-storied.com/blog/how-to-recover-from-writing-burnout

Discussed in this podcast is the writer’s creative well, and that drawing too deeply or too often from the well can cause creative exhaustion that leaves you too weary to do what you love. Suggestions of ways to refill your creative well are given.


This is the first of three YouTube videos where Becca Syme talks about writer burnout. She introduces the Spoon Theory and explains Energy Pennies.

There are lots of tips here for you to take out snippets of what works for you. Try some of them and see how you feel about them. It’s important to take a break or shift your perspective – try writing something altogether different, maybe poetry or journalling. A change of scenery can help too; try writing outside of the home or even just in another room. Allow yourself to take a break; missing a day or two isn’t going to hurt and you’ll probably find that you are more productive after a break. Don’t underestimate the power of reaching out to other writers. If you are experiencing writer’s burnout, you can be guaranteed other writers are too. I hope this week’s column has been helpful. If there are any particular writing topics you want me to cover, please get in touch.

(c) Lucy O’Callaghan

Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31.

Facebook: @LucyCOCallaghan

Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

About the author

Writing since she was a child, Lucy penned her first story with her father called Arthur’s Arm, at the ripe old age of eight. She has been writing ever since. Inspired by her father’s love of the written word and her mother’s encouragement through a constant supply of wonderful stationary, she wrote short stories for her young children, which they subsequently illustrated.
A self-confessed people watcher, stories that happen to real people have always fascinated her and this motivated her move to writing contemporary women’s fiction. Her writing has been described as pacy, human, moving and very real.
Lucy has been part of a local writing group for over ten years and has taken creative writing classes with Paul McVeigh, Jamie O’Connell and Curtis Brown Creative. She truly found her tribe when she joined Writer’s Ink in May 2020. Experienced in beta reading and critiquing, she is currently editing and polishing her debut novel.
Follow her on Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31. Facebook and Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

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