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Blog Briefs: On Burnout, with Rjurik Davidson

In which a bunch of authors & editors are invited to answer the question: How do you deal with creative exhaustion?


And we’re off to a flying start with this thoughtful answer from author Rjurik Davidson.

When writers talk about creative exhaustion, I suspect they’re actually talking about a range of things: the sense that writing is a fairly meaningless activity; the feeling that one’s career is on the low road to nowhere; the sheer demands of work, family, having a life. There’s only one solution to such ‘exhaustion’ that I know, and that’s to get back to why you wanted to be a writer in the first place. It means rejoining with the child who is wildly excited by fictional worlds. It’s to remember that once it seemed like great fun. You have to do it for the love of it, as some people do gardening, or collect stamps, or do volunteer work. Spend a moment thinking back to that younger you who really loved stories. Put yourself in that younger person’s shoes. Inhabit their skin. See through their eyes. If necessary, read the books they loved (as long as you know they won’t disappoint too much). Then feel the rekindling of the fire.

– Rjurik Davidson is an Associate Editor of Overland magazine and the author of The Library of Forgotten Books.