May 13, 2013

Burnout by T. L. Wiens

The last few months have been a struggle for me where my writing is concerned. My focus is gone. Even more than that, I have no desire to focus. Some have told me it’s writer’s block but I call it burnout. Burnout comes with another unwanted struggle―depression.

Writing helps me avoid depression. I can throw all my turmoil onto a page and see it from a different perspective. God speaks to me through my writing. What do you do when your body is so tired, you can’t get the words to page? The vicious circle has been my companion for too long.

I think about quitting writing. It isn’t going to happen—even in my depressed, unable to write state, I know writing is a part of me. Maybe I should try another genre. The words don’t come. My frustration rises and my depression deepens. Quitting won’t work but I can’t seem to get the energy to sit at the computer.

Then, like crocuses poking up through the cold ground, ideas sprout. I manage to sit down and type a few words. I go through some old writing and do some editing. I feel a new breath of life in me. Not wanting to rush my healing body, I take a few pages at a time. It will take awhile before I get close to my old schedule. Then again, maybe the old schedule brought me to the dark place I’m just escaping.

I don’t know the answers to avoiding burnout or writer’s block. What this time away from writing has done for me is confirm I am a writer. I may not publish another book or story but I will always write. God has given me this gift and I must make sure I’m using it to His glory. Maybe that’s the part I forgot that led to the burnout.


  1. I've felt this way many times. Sometimes it comes from just not knowing what direction to take and uncertainty over where God is leading. Sometimes taking a little break to pray and be still is what is needed to be able to come back refreshed and ready to go again. Many blessings to you!

  2. Nice to know I'm not alone. Thank you for the encouragement. God bless you also.

  3. I too have been diagnosed with clinical depression and I know how valuable my writing was to me during my toughest times. I don't know if I published things, but I sorted out lots of things and prayed in my journal and notebooks. I needed to slow right down, to be still and know that He is God.

    Here is a quote I read from Ponca Chief White Eagle (1840-1914)
    When you are in doubt, be still, and wait;
    when doubt no longer exists for you, then
    go forward with courage. So long as mists
    envelop you, be still; be still until the sunlight
    pours through and dispels the mist—as it
    surely will. Then act in courage.

    And here is what David the Psalmist wrote,
    Wait for the Lord;’
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

    Ps. 27:14 (NIV)
    Be still. Be blessed.

  4. I think we all go through these seasons. Sometimes it's okay to give ourselves permission. :)

  5. Thanks for the quotes, Sharon. I've never been diagnosed but I know when I'm depressed. Diet has a lot to do with it for me.
    Yes, Tracy, we all need to allow ourselves the time for those seasons when we feel out of the groove.

  6. Thanks for writing with such honesty, T.L.. I can so relate to your experiences, the lack of focus and energy (happening right now, in fact), and the depression. I understand depression is quite common in artistic people like us who are sensitive to the world around us and our thoughts. And, I found as you did that leaving it behind for a time ("Lord, I thought you wanted me to write, but if not...") resulted in a gentle nudging to do that thing that I so enjoy, just writing something for me, or God, to enjoy. Glad you're going to keep writing :)


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