This week, I was able to pull some posts from the Written Adventure blog. I will post a few, if they have relevance to the topics I cover on this blog. As such, today, I will be reposting, with minor modifications, if any, a post on the subject of burnout. This was originally posted on November 24, 2010 at 03:00:00 US Pacific Time, during my final semester of college.
Last post, I talked about writer’s block. Writer's block is the least of a writer's worries though. There is an even bigger problem and, unlike Writer's Block, it is not limited to any profession in particular. This problem is burnout.
In the past, movies and books were so engaging. Far and wide, there were many movies and books that had intriguing storylines. Authors had a fresh approach to everything. If they were not intriguing or the approaches fresh, names like Dracula, Frankenstein, Sherlock, Arsene Lupin, and Hercule Poirot would not be as well-known as they are today. Of those names, Hercule is probably the least memorable as he is not mentioned as much as some of Agatha Christie’s other creation. Many of these are classics.
However, when we fast forward to today, the world feels lifeless. Almost nothing new has popped up in years that is both fresh and enjoyable. Society, at least in the US, has done nothing but push out either remakes and rehashes or utterly horrid stories and sequels. Televisions shows are suffering from this downturn as well. Because of this, I have pretty much given up on things in the US market. People say that everything has been done before, but that goes to show how much we lost, especially since people only focus on only a part of two mediums, instead of the whole of every medium. There are things that can be done easier and better in one medium that either cannot be done at all or not as good in another. That is one of the reasons I pay attention to Japanese animation more than the US market. The ignorance of many can ruin the paradise of a few.
While that last paragraph probably seems off-topic, it is not so. It is one of the effects that comes from burnout, piled on with the ignorance of the masses. Each time we write something, that is another idea that gets taken. Eventually, authors, such as John Grisham, run out of steam. Now, I have not read John Grisham’s works, but I do know two people that have. One of them told me that they noticed that John Grisham used to be a great writer and he was entertaining, but now it seems that the only thing selling his books is his name. This tells me that a good reader can definitely tell when a writer is experiencing burnout. Burnout is not only running out of ideas, which can be called writer's block, in some instances, but it can also be the fact that the person has finally reached the pinnacle of their abilities and is unable to surpass them. Burnout is a natural occurrence.
How do I overcome burnout? Honestly, there is no way to prevent it. There are ways to postpone burnout from occurring, but unless you switch professions or learn a new talent, you will be guaranteed to experience it one day. There will be a day when I am finally out of ideas for stories and my writing abilities will wane. I am aware of that. That is why I am warning you guys with this post.
Burnout is the other end of the same spectrum as idleness. You will lose what you have learned by not utilizing that talent, but continuing without fail will eventually render you incapable of ever utilizing that same talent again. After doing the same thing day in and day out can also lead to eventual boredom, which will also lead to burnout. All we can ever do is add variety to our lives and not stick with the same routine.
Do you face burnout or know of somebody experiencing burnout? Feel free to comment.