We all burn out sometimes. For creative types, it tends to come with the territory, so knowing how to deal when it happens is an essential part of our self-care. And just how does one deal? Well, there are no hard and fast rules for treatment, but there are many things that help. I suggest a few (okay, twenty) of them here, in:
The Ailing Writer’s BURNOUT REPAIR KIT
- Pillow for crash-nap and/or screaming into.
- Big boss pajama pants, because nothing punches stress in the face like comfort and good circulation. And why not look cool doing it?
- Chocolate because not only does it lift mood and obliterate magical trauma (source: Remus Lupin); there is actually a sampler box of health benefits to indulging. Not to mention its effects on the reading experience.
- Emergency cookies.
- Bubble bath & bath bombs for relaxation, scent-sations, and soaking the stress away. And when you’re done, you can smell like a galaxy! Or, you know. Vanilla. And hey does anyone else see this and think “Triwizard Tournament”? What I did not just buy a dozen bath bombs YOU BOUGHT A DOZEN BATH BOMBS
- Comfy slippers won’t transport you to Kansas, but they may just bring heaven to earth and your feet. Mm. Squishy.
- Notebook & pen for when you need to go dark and rest your weary eyes from the screen.
- Markers, or tools for any creative outlet, to prove to yourself that even if you’re feeling word-blocked, you can still have fun making things!
- Your favorite book, or any book you enjoy. It’s an inexpensive escape and an invaluable connection to why you love writing and storytelling in the first place!
- Something you can anger crush and not feel bad about. Pictured: junk mail. Suggested: soda cans, bubble wrap, the dreams of enemies
- A sad movie & ample tissues. Feeling blocked? Stressed? In over your head? Put on a tearjerker and let the emotions roll. Popcorn optional.
- Low-tech wireless blocker (i.e., tape). Step 1: Turn wireless off. Step 2: Place tape over switch. Step 3: Profit.
- A cold bottle of age-appropriate beverage. Wine, vanilla soda, beer, coffee—whatever fits the bill.
- Fan mail and/or author exchange. Admiration for anything you’ve written, book or blogpost (or even tweet!) can be fan mail. Keep a folder and refer to it any time for instant cheer. Also healing: exchange with writer friends. It’s nice to remember you’re not alone in this—that others go through the struggles, too. Plus, a friend will have your back if you need to vent a little!
- Jar of love. Squirrel away printed margin note compliments, edit letter praise, and positive reader feedback for a rainy day. Then when doubt creeps up on you, PAPER CUT THAT BASTARD WITH LOVE and remember you are not an utter failure.
- Written permission (to you, from you) to take the day off. As authors, we are largely responsible for monitoring our own work. This includes meeting deadlines, but it also means recognizing when we, the creative muscle, are running ourselves into the ground. If you reach a point where your work is becoming destructive to you, it is probably healthier to spend some time apart from it—and you shouldn’t feel guilty for doing so.
- Sturdy shoes for walking it out, or a rejuvenating time on the town.
- Plush socks. Part of a balanced cozy.
- Blankets. One deluxe and fuzzy one to hide under, or many with which to build a fort and [read] [work] [Netbinge].
- __________??? (What’s in yours? Share in the comments below, or tell me on Twitter!)