Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. The group offers a place for writers of all kinds to support each other in those ever-present moments of insecurity.
While many use this as an opportunity to vent their frustrations, I realized early on that if I keep posting about my own insecurities, these posts will start sounding very similar. So I decided to move away from "woe is me" and focus on motivation and encouragement, centering my IWSG posts on inspirational quotes from people I admire.
Today's quote comes from an author who's work has won or been nominated for practically every major industry award in speculative fiction, from the Hugo to the Bram Stoker to the World Fantasy Award. His most well known work is undoubtedly The Hyperion Cantos, which is currently being adapted to film by Warner Bros. I'm talking about American author Dan Simmons, who observed the following about the odd flavor of burnout that writers tend to experience:
"It's one of the strangest attributes of this profession that when we writers get exhausted writing one thing, we relax by writing another."
As the reality of my Odyssey acceptance begins to sink in, burnout is something I've been thinking a lot about. By all reports from past graduates, I've got an enormous amount of work ahead of me. By the end of that six weeks, I'll probably be exhausted. But I'll mostly be pumping out new material while I'm there, so as tiring as it might be, that exhilarating feeling of creating something new will most likely never leave, and I imagine I'll be very grateful for that.
Of course, I'm no stranger to that feeling of exhaustion that long ventures into the written word can bring. It most likely played a part in the failed novels of my early writing exploits. Most of us experience this from time to time, especially when it comes to longer works. And though part of me is glad I never finished those novels because I've improved by leaps and bounds as a writer since then, another large part of me wonders what might have happened if I'd just taken a little break to work on something else for a while. I wonder if I'd have two completed novels to my name?
I'll never know the answer to that question, but having since experienced the rejuvenation that Dan Simmons is referring to in this quote with other projects, I know it's something I'll be trying the next time burnout rears its ugly head. And if you find yourself in a similar situation (and considering the A to Z Challenge just ended, some of you probably are), why not give it a try? Instead of giving up on that novel because of an exhausting "block," try relaxing for a change. Take a break and work on a short story, or perhaps a flash piece. Experiment a little. One short trip into another world might be all the cure you need for the burnout blues.