Burn. Out.

I think I’m facing something that I don’t want to face. And I’m not even sure if it’s true. I’ve written a lot of pages in the year since I’ve moved to LA. A LOT of pages. And not all of them have sucked. Which is good. But… man… these past weeks… trying to write (well, rewrite…) has been hard. Really hard. So there it is… have I become a BURN OUT? Is this the end?

Do I just need to step away? What if I don’t WANT to step away? How do I NOT be a burn out?

Symptoms: I sit down to write, and it’s an idea that I like, but when I put put fingers to keyboard (or rubber hitting the road) and I just can’t do it. I just lose my… nerve? My…passion? (OMG, is this performance anxiety?) I just don’t know. I just don’t CARE.

I move onto other distractions… the internet (recently, I’ve grown fond of podcasts–it’s like radio JUST FOR ME, or reading or catching up on some TV.

I’m sure the reasonable thing for me to do is just step away for a bit, but, how much is a bit? How long should I step away for? A week? A month? That’s very hard for me to do. I’ve always felt the pressure of time. That time is running out. The importance of NOW. If I’m not working, I know someone else IS. So, to step away… It’s like taking a break during a marathon… I don’t think it’s wise to knock off the marathon to go watch a movie, it’s going to be hard to start running again.

If stepping away isn’t an option (it is, don’t tell my manager), what then? I’ve tried to be more scheduled with my time, (DISCIPLINE!). In the morning, I have an hour to waste on the internet, and then three hours of writing time, followed by lunch and then in the afternoon two hours of what I’m calling “Imagination Time.” I even have gmail sending me reminders… And that’s not… working…

So, here I am… I can care less about writing (except I don’t) and I should take a break and recharge (but I won’t) and I’m not sure what to do next. (I really hope you do.)

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4 Comments

  1. Posted July 12, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Larry,

    A writer’s life is super hard, super lonely, even when you have people around you. And I go through this all the time. Finding a balance.

    There are a couple of realizations I’ve hit upon over the last few years. 1. I will never have the writing career I fantasized aboutf. 2. I will have the writing career I make for myself.

    So i have a very 50/50 percent approach to writing. I will write ten pages every morning. of which 3 or 4 will be very good. And then I walk away and do work towards getting something I wrote produced. Now, that may be, that I end up self-producing a lot. But you know, you have to believe in your own words enough to just produce it yourself.

    I think ultimately Larry, if you wanna write, you have to write what you know your gonna love, what you feel truly passionate about, because those are the words that usually end up being the words that matter in your life and that an audience, producer, agent will respond too; and that will help you find your way.

    Take time off. don’t start anything new. Finish and put things away. Accept reality… reality is hard, but it can also be very sweet. The great thing about Writing, is that you can do it any time… it will be there for you next week, next year, it will be there at 60.

    Time IS running out! But isn’t time to live and have meaningful relationships, and try stuff that you’ve never tried before, and find something else you love running out too. Writing will be there. Take the time off, and when you come back, you would have found the time that you spent away from it, would inform it.

    Then again you could be loving writing tomorrow. You never know with us writers, how we’ll feel from day to day.

    • Larry
      Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      I feel like though… instead of taking time off… I want to push THROUGH it… It’s like when a runner hits the wall in a marathon… they have to push through it, they have to marshal their inner strength and keep going. Because, let’s be honest, this isn’t hard, what I’m doing. I’m at home writing to my own deadlines. I’m not working for someone else with multi-million dollar budgets. I’m running this ship. I make the rules. And I don’t want to create a situation where when it gets a little “hard” I decide to knock off for the day.

      So, for now, I’m going to split the writing day, part of the day, rewriting, the other part, working on something new.

  2. marcus dalzine
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Hey. For me it’s somewhere in the middle. i like to go periods (months) between working on something new. I need time to find the thing i’m trying to say in the way I want. I watch movies, tv shows i really admire and try see what I can learn. whenever i’m stuck, i watch a few episode of Homicide: Life on the Street and just marvel and the way they tell story. also, take lots of naps. 🙂

    • Larry
      Posted July 14, 2011 at 2:05 am | Permalink

      I LOVE naps. Naps are great.

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