One of the worst things you can experience in the capacity as a writer is getting burned out. I feel exactly as the phrase articulates–completely out of fuel. After having worked at this PR agency for 5 months, I am almost completely out.
I’m sure many of you would have guessed that the writing necessary for PR agencies can be very repetitive and unsavoury, because selling a product generally is and for PR you have to pretend you’re not selling a product but that you’re sharing news!! (Not that it fools anybody.)
In the past week, I’ve been a writing machine and I feel like I’ve produced five million press releases, all of which share some variants of the same phrases, words and tone, most of them self-congratulatory. That, I believe, is the tiring part of public relations writing. But in any case, writing a lot of things in a short period of time can be rather exhausting, no matter the medium or the style of writing. I’m still trying to figure out how to combat this, especially if the only thing I’m sure about right now is the fact that I will continue to write as part of my career.
(Certainly, creative writing is very different from writing press releases, and it was so refreshing when I opened my Pages document over the weekend.)
I do fear that exerting my writing juices at my day job will leave little left for my secret night hobby, but I have to wonder if writing is dipping into a limited pool of ink or if it is threading strands of imagination (by its own nature infinite) into something communicable.
But here’s what I do when I am out of writing diesel:
Some people write as they go along and form a narrative structure afterwards, but I’m the exact opposite. I like to know where goes where, and what comes after what, before I tackle the actual writing. I also like to do all the formatting on the page at the beginning; it’s almost like a ritual at this point.
Plus, I feel like I have to plan and format before I can tell myself: now, nothing left but to write. It doesn’t matter where I start as long as I have a plan, which brings me to the next point.
#2: Start anywhere but the top
Everyone knows that staring at the blank page with a blinking cursor is the worst feeling, and somehow everything that comes after that first sentence is so much easier. So, just write any part of your piece – any paragraph, conversation, description – that pops into your mind the easiest as a fully formed sentence. If you’re writing creatively, jot down sentences/phrases that magically appear in your mind even when they are not immediately relevant to your story. Work from there.
#3: Read someone else’s writing
Preferably of a completely different genre and topic, so your brain changes gears. Though reading peripheral pieces about your given topic can also be excellent, as that can spark sudden inspiration. The best writing to read at this point is simple and economical writing, just because it will help the words in your mind flow and form into articulate sentences.
#4: Do this thing where you scroll up and down the document so quickly everything turns into a blur
Very much better than simply staring at the screen and not doing anything, after all!
That’s all I got for now, but I’m nowhere near being an expert to give such advice, anyway. So, look for me after I’ve published something I’m proud of.