It’s 3:52am on a Wednesday morning here in Las Vegas.
I’m tired AF, but I dunno. I woke up and took a shit half an hour ago, and now I’m wide awake.
On any normal day, I would just go back to bed. But I guess this isn’t any normal day.
Enter: Writer Burnout
I’m a writer, but I haven’t been doing much writing lately. It’s not for lack of trying. I mean, I sit at my laptop for 8-10 hours a day. Every damn day.
But nothing comes out. I am totally burned out.
And I’m just at a loss for what to do to turn this around. It might continue like this for another year. Or it might turn around tomorrow. I have no idea.
I started writing online March 10, 2012 as a blogger and freelance writer. I’ve written around 1,000 articles for clients at content mills (sites like Textbroker, Zerys, WriterAccess). And I’ve also written probably 300+ blog posts for my own websites over the years too.
So I’m a real writer – a working professional. I don’t make a TON of money as a content writer, but I was always able to at least pay a few bills every month with my weekly payouts. As far as “side hustles” go, this one is legit. And I’m good at it.
I’ve been paid thousands of dollars to write stuff. And after years of low-paying gigs, I’m finally getting some breaks with higher-paying work (well, compared to the extremely lowball pay I’ve earned at some of the content mills and on my old blogs).
In fact, right now I’ve got a few hundred dollars of work lined up for me, but my clients are stressing out because I keep pushing back deadlines and flaking out on them. I’m burning bridges left and right.
This is not who I am, and it’s frustrating the hell out of me.
This stretch of writer burnout has been going on for months, and over the summer things really went downhill. It’s at the point now where I am going entire weeks with zero output and not even earning $100 in a month, despite the fact that I sit at my computer to write every damn day – and feel mentally exhausted every damn night.
I hate this shit.
Why can’t I just do the damn work, make my clients happy, get my money, pay my bills and move forward?
What Is Causing My Writer Burnout?
As I look back at my numbers, I realize that things have been going downhill for about two years now, whereas my earnings were progressing upward for the previous 12 months. In fact, I can actually point to the month where things first started to deteriorate – November 2017.
My best month ever as a freelance writer was actually right before that – October 2017. But then something happened (offline, in my personal life) in November that reversed my upward momentum and sent me into a downward spiral.
Due to litigation, I still can’t talk about what happened (relax, it’s nothing crazy or criminal), and I won’t be able to talk about it for at least another year (which is pure torture for a blogger). But I can definitely pinpoint my downward spiral to that event. I mean, you can literally see it in my monthly earnings (and in my weight gain).
The interesting thing is that it has absolutely nothing to do with my work and my writing business. It’s totally unrelated. It’s a completely separate area of my life, but it affects just about everything else going on in my life.
I guess this drives home the point that everything in your life is connected. And sometimes the solution has nothing to do with the problem (or at least, the problem and solution appear to be completely disconnected on the surface).
So I don’t have any happy ending to wrap up this little blog post. Not yet. I just needed to vent.
I have two articles to write for one of my clients – due tomorrow. And I don’t think she can push back the deadlines AGAIN, so it’s now or never.
7,500 words up on deck.
$225 waiting for me.
I’ve written 8,000+ words in a day before, so this is doable.
Then I have six more test articles to do for another potential client. And they’ve been waiting WEEKS for those.
Maybe tomorrow will be ok.Everything in your life is connected. And sometimes the solution has nothing to do with the problem. Click To Tweet
UPDATE: One year later…
Well…”Tomorrow” was not okay.
This burnout phase continued for another 12-13 months, until a few weeks ago, when I decided to quit being a freelance writer forever. I even deleted my Textbroker account and turned down that opportunity to write for GreenGeek’s content team (a web hosting company). It sucked, but I was dead in the water and didn’t really have much choice.
So I decided to let it all go and return to blogging.
It didn’t shift immediately, but within a week or two I began to feel the fog lifting. It was like a weight lifting off my chest. It still took a couple more weeks after that for me to find my footing and figure out my path going forward. But now that I have some clarity about what I want to do with my blog, I’m picking up speed again.
As a freelance writer, I barely squeezed out 39 articles for clients in all of 2020 (Jan-Oct). I used to do more than that in a month, before the burnout set in.
But since I quit freelance writing and returned to blogging, I’m now on track to hit that number in under two weeks. I think no mistake was made going back to blogging. I’m much more productive as a blogger.
So that’s it for the update.
I’m back to blogging. And I’m drawing comics and sketches to go with my blog posts too. I even started writing guest posts for other blogs and got my first one published today on The Personal Growth Channel.
So things are looking up.
I guess I just needed to move on and get back to making that sweet passive income. =)