Burn out? Need a break? Me too! And guess what, that's perfectly normal.
Burnout is a completely normal thing for any content creator, believe it or not. Unless you're paying someone else to do your thinking and crunch work, you will need breaks from time to time even if it is your passion that you're indulging in.
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Firstly, let's understand what is a burnout and what causes it.
What is Burnout?
Typically, this is a result of built-up stress without proper self-care. It can manifest in physical and mental ailments often in the form of exhaustion and feeling completely uninspired. The brain stalls even if you want to bring out new content and the feeling of being completely overwhelmed just makes you want to cry.
I am not a doctor and neither am I medically certified to be diagnosing anything. However, as someone who constantly goes through the self-destructive creative cycle, I am very familiar with the symptoms that I experience.
As a general guideline, you know for certain that you're suffering from a writer/content creator burnout when:
You open a new document but cannot think of anything to write.
You're constantly tired but cannot rest properly.
You start dreading what you have to do. It starts to feel like a chore more than a joy because you're driven by expectations and not desire.
You start indulging in unhealthy amounts of food or medicine or coffee just to help you cope. It can be any coping vices, really. Not limited to munching because everyone is different.
You hate everything including yourself (especially yourself).
For the actual medical symptoms, please refer here.
How to Recover from Burnout?
This is the part that gets difficult. I know you hate to hear it but if you trust me, this is how you can do it.
Take a long break.
That's it? Well, yes but no. It's not that simple. There are rules to follow on this break. Basically, you're banned from ever doing the things you should be doing in order to recover from it. Instead, you're going to disappear from the grid and focus on repairing and rebuilding yourself. There are many ways to do this but the easiest is to book a 2-week holiday to somewhere you've always wanted to go.
If you can't go on a holiday because you don't have money, take 2 weeks off work and chores. Go out every day. Sleep whenever you want. Eat healthily and play a lot. It's best to stay off the internet if you work on the internet. Cut the phone time too. Go to a park, the zoo or a beach. Join a new community activity or volunteer at an orphanage. There are many ways to spend time without going online.
What does it mean for writers?
I guess you're asking about this because you're an MGS farmer. If you're on Goodnovel, just pause it for the month and post a notice in your summary or last chapter saying you're going on a hiatus. It's always good to have social media to update your readers.
However, if you're on Webnovel then I suggest you weigh the pros and cons. Losing out on health and life for USD200 sounds like a terrible decision in all honesty but if you want to continue on that path, I'm not stopping you.
Writer hiatus isn't a terrible thing. If readers are giving you death threats and horrible reviews for not updating like a printing house, they are not the readers you need or want. In fact, they're likely the ones who don't pay a single cent for what you write. Even if they did, you didn't force them to pay you for anything, much less warrant this sort of abuse. Take all the time you need. It would be nice to let readers know an estimate for when you will be returning but if you do not know the exact date, let them know where they can follow for updates on your status.
True story, I'm someone who constantly took hiatus from writing in the last decade of writing. My longest hiatus had to be 2 years. However, I did not lose my readers at all. In fact, they remembered me and what I wrote. Many chose to re-read everything again for the experience. These are the readers you truly love and cherish. They will always be there for you as a writer and in some ways, they are the friends you've made along the way. If you are a content creator who creates with their soul, you won't ever be abandoned.
Come Backs & Returns
It can be a little awkward and nerve-racking to re-debut after you sort yourself out. Any writer who has written for a while can attest to fumbling every time we write a new work. It's nothing to do with having experience. Content creators are simply strange creatures. We doubt ourselves constantly even with all the self-esteem in the world.
My advice? Fuck it.
If you want to come back early, your readers would be happy. If you came back late, your readers would be happy. If you come back at all, your readers would be happy. Coming back alone is like a miracle from getting reunited with a lover you thought died in the war. Your readers just want you back so it doesn't matter if you've lost an arm, have aged two hundred years or are now an ugly beggar. Readers are unconditional lovers. They just love you for who you are and want you back no matter what.
Should I take my own advice? Yes. Do I? It depends.
I probably should take my own advice more as I write these blogs out. Some of you might already know that I'm starting out as a vtuber so while I can speak with confidence about this for writing, I can't say the same for content creating because I'm a real wreck. Yet, if you've found this somewhat helpful that's enough for me.